News

Dennis Rodman back in N. Korea despite political tension

Dennis Rodman back in N. Korea despite political tension

BACK IN NORTH KOREA: Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman speaks at a news conference in New York Sept. 9. Photo: Reuters/Eric Thayer

By James Pearson

SEOUL (Reuters) – Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman will return to North Korea for a third time on Thursday despite political tension surrounding the execution of leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, trip organizers said.

“It’s certainly safe, even when there is a bit of disruption like there is now — a bit of trouble or chaos — there’s even more need for cultural or sporting exchanges,” said Rory Scott, a spokesman for Irish bookmakers Paddy Power, which has arranged the trip.

Rodman has visited Pyongyang on two other occasions, during which he spent time dining as a guest of Kim Jong Un, with whom he says he has a genuine friendship.

In a rare admission of factionalism within the North Korean government, Jang Song Thaek was purged and then executed last week – a period South Korean President Park Geun-hye described as a “reign of terror”.

Rodman is expected to provide North Korea’s national basketball team with four days of training. He also intends to return to Pyongyang in January with a team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars to hold basketball games on Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

“This being is orchestrated under the guise of sport,” Scott said. “Dennis is going to spend a couple of days training the North Korean team to get them ship shape for the January match.”

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Oakland’s Johnson designated for assignment

Fresh
Oakland Athletics pitcher Jim Johnson (45) is relieved by manager Bob Melvin, rear, during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The Indians won 6-4. Johnson was the losing pitcher. In front is Athletics catcher Derek Norris.

Johnson, acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Orioles, was 4-2 with a 6.92 ERA in 38 games with the A's.

in Sports

Two Texas football players charged with sex assault

Fresh
Texas head coach Charlie Strong listens to a question from a reporter during the Big 12 Conference NCAA college football media days in Dallas, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Spokeswoman Cindy Posey says the players charged Thursday are wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Montrel Meander. Sanders also faces a charge of improper photography.

in Sports

Cavaliers sign rookie Andrew Wiggins

Fresh
Top NBA draft prospect Andrew Wiggins of Kansas prepares for an interview during the NBA draft lottery in New York, Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

The Cavaliers have signed No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins, a contract that prevents him from being traded for 30 days.

in Sports

Knoblauch charged with assaulting ex-wife

Fresh
Minnesota Twins' Chuck Knoblauch takes a hard swing at a pitch by Cleveland Indians pitcher Chad Ogea, and falls down as he misses the ball in the second inning in Minneapolis, Saturday, July 13, 1996.

Knoblauch has been released on $10,000 bond. His first court date is set for July 30

in National, Sports

Ohio State University fires marching band director

osu

OSU has fired the director of its celebrated marching band amid allegations he knew about "serious cultural issues" including sexual harassment.