The Basketball superstar, now 58, famously went to North Korea for the first time in February 2013 with a group of players from the Harlem Globetrotters for some self-styled “basketball diplomacy”. They played an exhibition match in a packed arena, that was watched by the basketball-mad Kim. After the game, the US superstar gave a speech, in which he praised the Supreme Leader.
He said: “First of all, I would like to say thank you. You guys have been very kind to me and to my compadres from America.
“The one thing I want to say … I’m going to cut this really short … I’m very privileged to be here and to accept us as one of you is an honor.
“I’m sorry that my country and your country are not on good terms, but for me and the country, you’re a friend for life.
“(Turns to Kim Jong-un.) Sir thank you, you’re a friend for life.”
Kim then invited Mr Rodman and the players to join him for some food, vodka and karaoke, as well as some “hotties’ and stuff like that”.
The US basketball team needed no second invitation and in an interview for Mike Tyson’s podcast Hot Boxin’, Mr Rodman described the night he spent partying with the world’s most fearsome autocrat.
He said: “Next thing I know, we are having dinner and we are drunk as s, he starts singing karaoke and I have no clue what the f he’s talking about.
“Everyone starts clapping and then he has this 18-piece girl band come out and these girls are hot but they just played one song.
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“Just one f***ing song. It was the theme from Dallas.”
Mr Rodman visited North Korea on a number of further occasions, including one in January 2014.
On this occasion, he was accompanied by a team of NBA players to perform another exhibition match for the Supreme Leader’s birthday.
The basketball star sang a quick happy birthday to Kim in front of the applauding crowd.
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But his visit was shrouded in controversy, on account of North Korea’s detention of an American evangelical missionary, Kenneth Bae.
Mr Bae, a Korean-American, was arrested and convicted on charges of planning to overthrow the North Korean government.
He was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment in a hard labour camp in April 2013.
In May 2013 Mr Rodman tweeted that he would ask his friend Kim to “do me solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose”.
In September, he backtracked, saying it was the job of then-US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama to sort it out.
After the January trip he was questioned again about Mr Bae, and attempted to blame US missionary and his actions in North Korea for his detention.
Mr Bae’s sister condemned the basketball player, saying: “This isn’t some game.
“This is about a person’s life – father of three, a son and a brother and a husband.”
Regarding Kim’s recent disappearance, Mr Rodman told the New York Post that he does not believe reports his friend was incapacitated.
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