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Ever since Dennis Rodman visited North Korea as part of HBO’s Vice basketball diplomacy trip in February 2013, the former NBA star has faced consistent criticism for his perceived relationship with the authoritarian regime.
Rodman, who has been to the country multiple times, has now given an introspective interview to ESPN where he muses about the many complaints he’s received for meeting with leader Kim Jong-un.
“I don’t want people to look at me as the devil or evil person,” he told anchor Mark Schwarz. “If I put anyone in harm’s way, I apologize, you know.”
The ex-Chicago Bulls player elaborated to the sports network: “What makes me so damn bad? What makes me this bad, awful person?”
The ESPN interview is only the latest high-profile media turn for Rodman, who has faced increased scrutiny due to his unlikely rapport with members of the North Korean regime.
The basketball player made headlines earlier this year after he engaged in a very heated on-air discussion with CNN’s Chris Cuomo about Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen detained in North Korea. Rodman later apologized for the interview and cited drinking problems.
The surreal nature of Rodman’s diplomatic trip may even get big-screen treatment. As THR reported in late February, 20th Century Fox has acquired a comedy pitch for a film called Diplomats, inspired by the Vice trip, with Ride Along‘s Tim Story attached as a director.
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