Dennis Rodman: Kim Jung Un is “great”

The basketball player goes to North Korea and comes back...brainwashed? VIDEO

Topics: Video, North Korea, Kim Jong Un, dennis rodman, Basketball, International relations,

Fresh off a bizarre tour of North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters and Vice magazine, former NBA all star Dennis Rodman has quickly become the authoritarian regime’s most high profile apologist in the U.S. and perhaps the world.

North Korea is known for its gulags, concentration camps, mass starvation, oppressive control of every aspect of its peoples’ lives, nuclear war mongering, all in support of its cartoonish dictator’s lavish life, but Rodman insists we simply don’t undersand Kim Jong Un.

The kingdom is notoriously insulated and closed off to outsiders, putting Rodman in the unlikely position of being an expert on the country, by virtue of the amount of time he’s spent there. “There is no one in the CIA who can tell you more about Kim Jong Un personally than Dennis Rodman,” ABC News military analyst remarked. “And that is scary.”

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday in wraparound sunglasses and a blazer with dollar bill prints, Rodman told host George Stephanopoulos that he considers Kim Jong Un a “friend” and that “he’s a great guy, just a great guy.”

“He’s very humble,” said Rodman of the dictator known for riding jet skis and horses while his people starve in the streets.

Still, Rodman dismissed the notion that he’s apologizing for the regime’s atrocities. “No, I’m not apologizing for him.” “He’s my friend. I don’t want to know what he does, but as far as person to person, he’s a great guy,” Rodman explained. “He really loves basketball,” said Rodman.

He engaged in bit of pop psychology to defend his friend, saying anything bad that Kim Jong Un does is really about living up to his father. “That’s his dad speaking,” Rodman said of Un’s stated desire to destroy the United States.

Rodman also accused the U.S. of hypocrisy for criticizing North Korea, pointing to our own large prison population and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. “What I did was history,” he added.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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