An American basketball legend and North Korean dictator walk into a bar. Nope, that's not the beginning of a joke — that's what diplomatic relations look like these days.
Following his four-day trip to the reclusive totalitarian state, Rodman has vowed to improve ties between North Korea and the United States— ties that are slightly frail at present, considering Kim threatened to annihilate America using nuclear missiles a few months back. Still, it's not like Rodman hasn't thought this through: he's planning a January basketball tournament between the two powers, not to mention he's now apparently considering writing Kim's biography. (Rodman has previously penned his own autobiographies, entitled Bad As I Wanna Be and I Should Be Dead By Now.)
Rodman and Kim met at a basketball tournament early this year, and became fast friends over the Chicago Bulls, a boozy dinner, and, um, general insanity. Last week, Rodman flew out to visit who he now refers to as his "friend for life," and never let it be said that Rodman isn't taking his position seriously. "Syria, really?!" declared Rodman at a press event Monday. "Why, Obama, are you afraid to talk to Dennis Rodman? You're not afraid to talk to Beyoncé and Jay-Z — why not me? I'm pretty important now, right?"
The first Americans to meet the reclusive leader were Rodman and the Vice crew (which orchestrated the initial meeting) in February this year. Rodman was also the first to break the news Sunday that Kim is a new father to a baby girl, Ju-ae. He "is a great dad, and has a wonderful family," said the eccentric superstar. Sure. Just don't get on Kim's bad side: the dictator's ex-girlfriend was reportedly executed by firing squad last month. Really.
The next phase of "basketball diplomacy," said Rodman — the phrase was invented by Vice— will be his third visit to North Korea this December. He'll bring some NBA players over with him, he added, and in January the power couple (by whom we mean Rodman and Kim...should we call them Rim?) will stage two basketball games between the countries. No word yet on if any basketball players are actually willing to step into the totalitarian state and risk actually beating the country in a game. That could only end well.
Kim also offered Rodman the opportunity to write his biography. Rodman insists he's the only American that truly understands Kim: "He's a very good guy," declared Rodman, who also seemed to think Hillary Clinton was still Secretary of State. "I'm not a joke," he added, just in case anyone wondered. "Take me seriously."
But what of Kenneth Bae, the American who remains imprisoned in North Korea on charges of trying to bring down the government? Though Rodman has previously shown support for Bae's plight, tweeting at Kim to release him to the States (Bae was recently transferred to hospital after his health deteriorated) Rodman became increasingly angry when asked about him. "It is not my job to talk about Kenneth Bae," he said Saturday. "Ask Obama about that, ask Hillary Clinton about that. Ask those assholes."
Obama had no comment, probably because he's busy slamming his head against the wall of the White House.