CNN's Anderson Cooper used a Twitter post to condemn Dennis Rodman on Monday as Rodman headed to North Korea with a team of former professional basketball players for an exhibition game on repressive leader Kim Jong Un's birthday.
Rodman said at the Beijing airport that he wouldn't scold Kim for North Korea's poor human-rights record because "he is my friend first . . . and I love him," the South China Morning Post reported.
"It's about trying to connect two countries together in the world, to let people know that, do you know what? Not every country in the world is that bad, especially North Korea," Rodman said, adding later to The Associated Press:
"People say so many negative things about North Korea, and I want people in the world to see it's not that bad."
the flamboyant former NBA star's remarks, tweeting:
Team Rodman will play against a North Korean team Wednesday, Kim's birthday, the newspaper reported.
The team will include former NBA players
Doug Christie, Craig Hodges, and Charles D. Smith.
Rodman made his first trip to North Korea in February, when he declared Kim — a reported fan of the Chicago Bulls, for whom Rodman played alongside Michael Jordan in the 1990s, winning three NBA titles — his "friend for life," the newspaper reported.
It's his fourth trip to Pyongyang.
Last month, he traveled there to train a North Korean team.
When Rodman visited North Korea earlier in 2013 with the Harlem Globetrotters, he described his trip as part of "basketball diplomacy."
For that, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. also took to Twitter
— but to praise Rodman.
"Ping pong diplomacy worked in China, and baskektball seems to work in North Korea," the civil-rights activist tweeted.
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