Kerry dismisses basketball star's North Korea visit

DOHA Tue Mar 5, 2013 11:31am EST

1 of 2. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C), his wife Ri Sol-Ju (L) and former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman (R) talk in Pyongyang in this undated picture released by North Korea's KCNA news agency on March 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/KCNA

DOHA (Reuters) - Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday brushed off a visit to North Korea by former basketball great Dennis Rodman, suggesting the sportsman was no diplomat.

Rodman emerged from four days in North Korea on Friday, calling the leader of the reclusive country, Kim Jong-un, "an awesome kid".

The five-times NBA champion known for his tattoos, body piercings and flamboyance was there to film a sports documentary, and watched a basketball game alongside Kim.

Kerry was asked if it was helpful for Rodman to have visited North Korea, which routinely denounces U.S. "hostility", and whether it undercut pressure on Pyongyang over a nuclear test last month that drew condemnation from world powers.

"You know what? Dennis Rodman was a great basketball player, and as a diplomat, he was a great basketball player. And that's where we'll leave it," Kerry told NBC's Andrea Mitchell in an interview in Qatar on his first trip as secretary of state.

Kim told Rodman over dinner that he hoped further sports exchanges would promote "mutual understanding between peoples of the two countries", the Chinese government news agency Xinhua reported.

Before leaving Pyongyang, Rodman told Xinhua that Kim "is like his grandfather and his father, who are great leaders. He is an awesome kid, very honest and loves his wife so much".

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Tom Pfeiffer)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (5)
ofilha wrote:
And who is Rodman? A has been basketball player who dresses very strangely and obviously knows nothing about anything much less North Korea, and now we are supposed to listen to this idiot?

Mar 05, 2013 10:50am EST  --  Report as abuse
RocketGirl wrote:
And the evidence shows that through diplomacy and highbrow, self absorbed Ketchup men the world has a better view of the US. sometimes in the universe it takes different people with different approaches, if we leave it up to the same old white guys we would still have slavery and corporate greed – oh like we do in many ways.

Mar 05, 2013 10:57am EST  --  Report as abuse
captainkona wrote:

Politicians are scum. Dennis Rodman accomplishes more hardcore diplomacy in one week than Hillary Clinton does in four years, and now Kerry is intimidated by civilian efforts.
Politicians are worthless, useless parasites.

We wouldn’t want Obuckwheat to lose his little cold war game, would we?

That Korean schmuck asked for a phone call from the Prezzy and Obambi doesn’t have one single hair on his narrow azz if he doesn’t do it.

God forbid we be bold enough to seek peace.

Mar 05, 2013 10:58am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus