When I think of the ideal person to send on a good-will trip to North Korea, retired National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman would not be my first choice. Or second. Or 1,000,000,000th. During his career, Rodman was known for his wild streak - from his colorful hair to outlandish behavior and ferocious sexual appetite (which was made common knowledge). Weird, I know - you would think a gentleman nicknamed "The Worm" would be upstanding and honorable!
But Rodman will be leading a contingent heading to the country, which includes three Harlem Globetrotters and a film crew from Vice Media. The footage filmed of the goodwill tour will be broadcast on HBO in a special in April.
During their time in the country, the players will attempt to use "basketball diplomacy" through pick-up games with locals and a sports camp to teach the children how to play ball. An exhibition match is also scheduled against the country's top athletes, and Vice believes that North Korea’s “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-un may attend.
"At a time when tensions between the two countries are running high, it's important to keep lines of cultural communication open, no matter how non-traditional those channels may be," Vice founder Shane Smith said. "It's important to show North Koreans that America is not their enemy, and playing a game we both love is a step in the right direction."
What an odd move.