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John Kerry suggests Dennis Rodman should stick with basketball

March 05, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman took in an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman took in… (Jason Mojica / Vice Media )

John Kerry became the latest to criticize Dennis Rodman in the aftermath of the former NBA star's trip to North Korea and visit with the reclusive communist country's leader, Kim Jong Un.

But the secretary of State phrased his comments about the controversial basketball player in the nicest way possible, telling NBC News from Doha, Qatar on Tuesday: “Dennis Rodman was a great basketball player. And as a diplomat, he is a great basketball player. And that’s where we’ll leave it.”

See what he did there? Perhaps a little lesson in diplomacy for Rodman, who has called Kim "a good guy" and "my friend" and has actually said "I love him" about the man who reigns over a regime known for its human-rights abuses and threats to annihilate America.

PHOTOS: Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea

Rodman traveled to North Korea with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters last week to participate in a basketball showcase as part of a news show by Vice television to be broadcast on HBO later this year.

The five-time NBA champion ended up spending a lot of time with Un, joining the die-hard basketball fan for a huge feast, many rounds of drinks and an ice-skating session. Rodman even tried his hand at diplomacy while discussing his trip on the ABC news show "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday morning, saying President Obama should simply try calling the North Korean leader.

"He loves basketball," Rodman said of Kim. "Obama loves basketball. Let's start there."

None of this has been sitting well with the White House. Spokesman Jay Carney said Monday that the U.S. already has direct channels of communication to North Korea's government and those are the channels it will continue to use.

Carney added that North Korea's government should be focused on the well-being of its citizens, not on “celebrity sporting events” to entertain the country's elite.


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