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 National

U.S. vaccination rates high, but pockets of unvaccinated pose risk

Fresh
vaccine

The vast majority of U.S. kindergarten-age children are vaccinated against preventable diseases but sizable pockets of unprotected children still exist, posing a public health threat, according to a government study.

in Sports

Tribute to Justin Wilson before Sunday’s finale

Fresh
justinwilson

Justin Wilson's race car will be back on track for the IndyCar season finale.

in Sports

Serena insists pressure not a factor in Grand Slam bid

Fresh
serena

Serena Williams says she is treating the upcoming U.S. Open just like any other, even though she is well aware of the historical impact the year's final grand slam may have.

in Entertainment

A new milestone for Facebook

Fresh
facebook

For the first time, a billion people used Facebook in a single day.

in Entertainment

The latest news from the ‘Star Wars’ camp

Fresh
18-overlay16

The young stars of the upcoming movie, "The Force Awakens," talk about their experiences filming with JJ Abrams.