News

Dennis Rodman: ‘Take me’ instead of Kenneth Bae

Dennis Rodman: ‘Take me’ instead of Kenneth Bae

TAKE ME: Dennis Rodman, seen here during his recent trip to North Korea, says he would trade places with American Kenneth Bae. Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former basketball star Dennis Rodman said on Friday he was willing to trade places with Kenneth Bae, an American missionary imprisoned in North Korea, the next time he visits his friend, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Rodman, in a live interview with CNN from a substance abuse rehabilitation facility in the New York City area, said he felt sympathy for Bae’s family.

Earlier this month, an agitated, drunken Rodman gave an interview with CNN from North Korea in which he suggested that Bae was responsible for his imprisonment.

Rodman, who has made four trips to North Korea, said he knew nothing of Bae’s case when he first mentioned him – and still does not.

“I have sympathy – I don’t want anyone in any country or anywhere in the world to be hostage for something maybe they did or did not do,” Rodman said in Friday’s interview.

PHOTOS: Dennis Rodman through the years | Dennis Rodman’s North Korean basketball game 

“I would do anything … if they said, ‘We’ll take Dennis Rodman and we’ll let Kenneth Bae go’, you know what? I’d do that, straight ahead. Take me. I would do that.”

He also offered to take his CNN interviewer, Chris Cuomo, to North Korea with him.

Bae was detained in North Korea in 2012 while leading a tour group and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for subversion.

Rodman was one of the National Basketball Association’s top rebounders during his 1986-2000 career and earned a spot in the Hall of Fame.

He played for five teams and his flamboyant personality, tattoos, body piercings and multi-colored hair at times outshone his skills.

On his January trip Rodman took a contingent of other former NBA players for an exhibition game in Pyongyang. He sang “Happy Birthday” at a celebration marking the 31st birthday of Kim, who he called his best friend and a great leader.

Rodman checked into the rehab center shortly after returning from North Korea earlier this month.

(Reporting by Bill Trott; Editing by Sophie Hares)

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

Walker throws 1-hit ball for 6 innings, Mariners top Padres

Taijuan Walker Twitter

Walker (7-6) combined with four relievers on a three-hitter for Seattle's second straight shutout of San Diego.

in Sports

Reports: GM Jerry Dipoto quits after 3 1/2 years with Angels

angelsspringbaseball

Dipoto told the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register on Wednesday that he has quit after 3 1/2 years with the Angels, but manager Mike Scioscia and Angels spokesman Tim Mead repeatedly refused to confirm any changes.

in Sports

NBA free agency roundup

hawkscarroll

DeMarre Carroll, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler headline the early signings in NBA free agency.

in Sports

Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova on her way to third round

sharapova

The fourth-seeded Sharapova beat Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp 6-3, 6-1 on Court No. 2 on Wednesday, improving her record in second-round Grand Slam matches to 41-4.

in Local Sports

Canucks trade Kassian to Canadiens for Prust

canadiens

Prust had 15 goals and 30 assists in 172 games since signing with Montreal three summers ago.