Dennis Rodman appeared on CNN on Tuesday to discuss his controversial decision to hold an exhibition basketball game in North Korea on the birthday of the country’s dictator, Kim Jong Un.
The interview was … interesting.
Rodman was beamed in from Pyongyang via satellite and was surrounded by an assemblage of players (some of whom are former members of the NBA) he had recruited for the game. During the interview, he was generally incoherent, but seemed to argue that his “basketball diplomacy” would ultimately lead to greater freedom. “One day, one day this door is going to open because of these 10 guys here,” he told CNN host Chris Cuomo.
But when Cuomo asked Rodman whether he would speak out about Kenneth Bae, an American currently being held by the North Korean government for reasons unknown, the former NBA champion lost his cool. “Do you understand what he did?” Rodman asked Cuomo. “You tell me! You tell me! Why is he held captive?”
“I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think!” Rodman yelled. ”I’m saying to you, look at these guys here, look at them! They dared to do one thing; they came here.”
As the interview progressed, the players surrounding Rodman began to look visibly uncomfortable. One of them, former NBA player Charles Smith, tried to lower the tension by saying that he and others had decided to participate in the game for reasons outside politics.
“We’ve said numerous times that we’re not here for any political aspects,” Smith said. “We’re not here to talk politics. So outside of that, any questions that come back through that is baiting to get us into politics.”