Chris Chase, USA TODAY
Gentleman, scholar and international diplomat Dennis Rodman says he's been invited to bring a team of 12 former NBA players to play in a basketball tournament in North Korea early next year. Rodman, who recently returned from a second trip to North Korea to visit his buddy Kim Jong-un, said he would try and assemble a team that includes Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, among others, to play in the tournament, which is scheduled for next January and totally sounds real and not like the plot to a screwball 1980s comedy.
"I'm not a joke," Rodman said at a press conference, while sitting in front of a bust of his own head and next to the owner of an Irish bookmaking site. "Take me seriously."
Rodman's handlers boasted that he was the first foreigner to hold Kim Jong-un's new baby, who he says is named Ju-ae. Rodman has described Kim as "a good dad [who] has a beautiful family."
The basketball Hall of Famer told reporters at the Monday morning news conference that he also plans to interview Kim, who was recently accused by a South Korean newspaper of sending his ex-girlfriend to her execution. It would be Kim's first televised interview, Rodman said.
Details about the tournament and Olympic training were scarce, but Rodman is already thinking ahead of that.
"If I pull this off, I asked [Kim] to come to New York to a Knicks game," Rodman said. "And what did he say? 'That would be amazing.'"
Rodman, who seemed to think Hillary Clinton was still Secretary of State, says sports and himself are the two best ways to bridge the gap with North Korea.