Politics

Dennis Rodman Brings Trump Book, Praise To North Korea (Photo)

| by Alex Scarr

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman returned to North Korea on June 13.

Rodman brought a few notable books on his latest trip to the isolated nation: Donald Trump's "The Art of the Deal" and the children's staple "Where's Waldo." He also spoke with Olympic athletes during his tour. 

Rodman, who has visited North Korea five times since 2013, brought the books as gifts. According to the Independent, Rodman bought the books as a small gesture to show his appreciation for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Rodman calls Kim a "lifelong friend."

After his past adventures in the country drew criticism, Rodman explained that this visit was about connecting with old friends. Rodman was in no way representative of the White House during his trip, nor was Trump's book signed or personalized for Kim, according to USA Today.

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Rodman met originally Kim in February 2013 while Rodman was touring the world with the Harlem Globetrotters, according to the Washington Post.

Rodman has spent much of the time working out with young North Korean basketball players and taking in the local sights. He watched the North Korean men's national basketball team during a practice and met with Sports Minister Kim Il Guk. Rodman also presented Guk with two personalized jerseys, but TMZ reported they were generic jerseys and did not contain logos from NBA teams.

Rodman also visited with North Korean Olympic athletes and praised them for succeeding despite the odds against them.

"All of you guys should be proud of yourselves, because, you know, a lot of people don’t give you guys credit," Rodman said, according to USA Today. "Because this is such a small country, and not many people from North Korea can compete around the world."

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According to the Washington Post, North Korea has participated in every Olympics in 1972, save for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles and 1988 Games in Seoul, both of which they boycotted. The country has experienced modest success in the Olympics, winning a total of 49 medals. At the 2012 Games in London, the North Korean team landed four gold medals.

During Rodman's address to the Olympic athletes, he mentioned the importance of returning to their home country with gold, silver, or bronze around their necks, according to USA Today.

"But for you guys to come back here in your country, with a medal, that says a lot about North Korea, because people don’t really take North Korea so seriously about sports or anything like that."

Sources: Independent, USA Today, TMZ, Washington Post (2) / Photo credit: Tuomas Venhola/Wikimedia Commons

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