Dennis Rodman apologized Thursday for his widely criticized comments about Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen detained in North Korea. The former NBA star, on his fourth day in Pyongyang, then courted further controversy by apparently heading to the new ski resort built as a pet project of Kim Jung Un, the impoverished nation’s young dictator.
At an exhibition game Wednesday, Rodman sang Happy birthday to Kim before his team of former NBA players and street ballers took on North Korean opponents. One player, Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, left Pyongyang Thursday but made no comment at Beijing airport.
U.S. tourists on Floyd’s flight, who had watched the game live, praised Rodman’s “basketball diplomacy” as worthwhile engagement that could open up communication with the highly isolated nation. The USA has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, whose regime has threatened nuclear strikes against the USA.