Dennis Rodman Defends North Korean Trips, But Won’t Go Back There

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By Anne Lu | March 10, 2014 9:20 AM EST

Dennis Rodman will not go back to North Korea if the people don’t want him to. The former Chicago Bulls star apologised if he has put anyone in harm’s way during his trips to the hermit nation.

“I wish they understood the whole purpose of why I went to North Korea. I wish they did,” the retired baller told ESPN in an interview.

Rodman insisted that his motives were pure when he went to the East Asian country twice to meet its leader Kim Jong-un.

His trips were highly criticised, with some people saying his fraternisation with the North Korean dictator meant he was condoning him.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson also slammed Rodman’s trip, claiming it interfered with diplomacy efforts.

“What makes me so damn bad? What makes me this bad, awful person?”

He continued, “At least someone tried. So that’s how I look at it. You know, I don’t want to be a hero, I don’t want to be this, I don’t want to be that. I just wanted to be, just do happy things and do great things in life. That’s all I wanted to do. That’s it.”

And if he has put anyone in harm’s way, Rodman apologises for it.

Rodman went to the reclusive nation in February 2013 to host basketball exhibitions. Apparently, Kim’s love of basketball helped them form a bond together.

In January, he returned to North Korea, and even sang Kim a “Happy Birthday.” Shortly after that trip, he held an interview with CNN, appearing inebriated and defending the country for locking up American prisoner Kenneth Bae.

He apologised to Bae’s family for his outburst, checking into a rehabilitation facility after. He denied that he sought help for alcoholism, as was widely reported, but he did because he simply “needed to decompress from all the things I was going through.”

As for his future trips to North Korea, he continued to ESPN, “If you don’t want me to go back there ever again, I won’t go back.”

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