Dennis Rodman to host international basketball game in North Korea |

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Dennis Rodman to host international basketball game in North Korea

09/09/2013 — 15:15:49 Back to Discover Home

Retired NBA star Dennis Rodman is to host an international basketball event in the North Korean capital Pyongyang next January, sponsored by Paddy Power.

We are not making this up.

Rodman and Paddy Power — the eponymous son of one of the firm’s founders, and current marketing spokesman for the company — held a press conference in New York today to announce the event.

Dennis Rodman is holding a press conference right now about holding a basketball tournament in North Korea.

Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) September 9, 2013

The ‘ Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational’ will match the North Korean national basketball team against an All-Star selection put together by Rodman. A second match will also be played in June 2014 between both sides in Europe.

The event has the official support and backing of the North Korean government and its recluslive leader, Kim Jong-Un.

Kim loves basketball, and he’s interested in building trust and understanding through sport and cultural exchanges, Rodman said.

“I know in time Americans will see I’m just trying to help us all get along and see eye to eye through basketball, and with my friendship with Kim I know this will happen.

The announcement came on Rodman’s return from a five-day trip to North Korea, a follow-up to a visit in February during which he met Kim — an apparent fan of basketball — for the first time.

(Rodman in Beijing en route to Pyongyang last week. Picture: AP)

In an interview with The Guardian yesterday, Rodman described Kim — whom as refers to as ‘The Marshal’ as a good dad, apparently also revealing to the world the name of the North Korean leader’s daughter.

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The Marshal Kim and I had a relaxing time by the sea with his family, Rodman told The Guardian.

We shared many meals and drinks where we discussed our plans to play a historic friendship basketball game between North Korea and the US as well as ways to develop their basketball team.

I held their baby Ju-ae and spoke with Ms Ri [Sol-Ju, Kim’s wife] as well. He’s a good dad and has a beautiful family.

(Kim Jong Un waves to spectators at military parade celebrating the 65th anniversary of the country’s founding earlier today. Picture: AP,)

“We’ve been working with Dennis on this historic project since February, said Paddy Power.

The scale and ambition of the project got us really excited and we are proud to be supporting Dennis to help him realise his dream.

Rodman has come under fire for his freelance ‘basketball diplomacy’ at a time of rising tensions between North Korea and the US, South Korea and Japan over threatened missile strikes.

(A military parade in Pyongyang today celebrating the 65th anniversary of the country’s founding. Picture: AP)

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