When Dennis Rodman went to North Korea as part of an HBO documentary and met with Kim Jong Un he said he hoped to bring a group of former NBA All Stars to the reclusive country for a basketball exhibition. Everyone thought Rodman was joking at the time, but he keeps going back.
Now he is indeed bringing his friends.
Former NBA All Stars Vin Baker, Kenny Anderson and Clifford Robinson will join Rodman for this exhibition game Wednesday — for Kim Jong Un's birthday. Also joining the trip will be former Knicks forward Charles Smith, former Bulls sharpshooter Craig Hodges and former Kings guard Doug Christie.
It is a motley crew befitting of Rodman and his trips to North Korea.
Charles Smith told the Associated Press he hopes it can be a cultural exchange:
Dennis and I are total opposites but we work very well together. Dennis is one of the few people I know that doesn't just talk but actually lives a culturally diverse life. We have traveled everywhere together so I was not surprised with his first visit to North Korea.
Cultural exchange is about sharing. Sharing ideas and thoughts on education, culture and life.
Of course, part of North Korea's culture is a culture of fear of random violence from the country's leadership. It was reported a few weeks ago that Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed. Of course, it does not seem like any information coming out of the reclusive nation is that trustworthy. Rodman has been one of the few Americans to meet Kim Jong Un.
Cultural exchange is great. And sports is a great way to bridge that gap for sure. But these two countries are a long way from officially playing a basketball game together.