Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman broke down on live television during a CNN interview, as US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met this morning at Sentosa, Singapore.
A former NBA player and Hall-of-Famer, Rodman is known for his unique friendship with Kim. Rodman has made five trips to Pyongyang since his “friend for life” – as he describes Kim – took power.
After Rodman first visited the secretive state in 2013 accompanied by members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, he organised a team of North Korean basketball players for an exhibition match commemorating Kim’s birthday the next year in 2014.
The prolific athlete who has won several NBA awards made waves last June, during his most recent trip to North Korea, when he gifted Kim a copy of Trump’s best-selling book, The Art of the Deal.
Rodman arrived in Singapore in the wee hours of the morning today, to witness history being made. Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Rodman became emotional as he described how he believed this historic meeting would happen even when others did not believe it.
Breaking down in tears as he described how he received death threats and couldn’t return home for 30 days after he expressed hope that relations between the US and North Korea would improve, Rodman revealed that Kim offered to have peace talks during former US President Barack Obama’s time in office but that Obama “did not give me the time of the day…he brushed me off” when he tried to broach the topic.
Wearing a MAGA hat featuring Trump’s famous electoral slogan, Rodman added that Donald Trump reached out to him: “Donald Trump reached out, he called his secretary, she called me and said ‘Donald Trump is so proud of you, he likes you a lot.’ And that means a lot. I don’t want to take any credit, we can all take credit and I’m just so glad this is happening.”
Earlier in the interview, Rodman shared that Kim Jong Un is a “big kid” who is not used to promises being fulfilled.
Describing how achieving the difficult task of organising a basketball team for Kim’s birthday prompted Kim to share that “this is the first time someone’s ever kept their word to me and their country,” Rodman revealed that this was the point when he realised that Kim and his people just want someone who is “trustworthy”.
Adding that Kim is “all about the 21st century, about progressing his country,” Rodman predicted that if Trump goes into the meeting with an open heart, he could pull what appears to be the impossible off:
Trump and Kim shared a historic handshake at the Capella hotel in Sentosa this morning as they kicked off the unprecedented meeting. The pair spoke to reporters for a few minutes before entering into a private session.
The private session concluded shortly and the leaders are presently in an extended bilateral meeting, with their aides.
Kim told the media, “The way to come here was not easy … the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles, but we have overcome them and we are here today” while Trump revealed after the one-on-one session that the meeting was “Very good, very very good…Working together, we will get it taken care of.”