Ex-basketball superstar's courting of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is staggeringly stupid, says Anil Bhoyrul
Every once in a while, a spectacular fool reveals himself. A true bozo. A man of astonishing stupidity. A legend in his own lunchtime.
Meet Dennis Rodman, the ex-Chicago Bulls basketball star. Right now, Rodman and his pals are heading to North Korea to help celebrate the birthday of dictator Kim Jong-un. Rodman will lead retired NBA All-Stars’ Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson and Vin Baker for an exhibition game against North Korea, to be held on Wednesday to mark Kim's birthday.
I’m surprised Kim has the time for Rodman. He’s been busy lately: last month he reportedly fed his uncle Jang Song-Thaek to 120 dogs in an execution watched by 300 officials. More than 100,000 political prisoners are in labour camps in the country, which Kim has turned into economic chaos, with widespread famine and, for good measure, war mongering with South Korea at every opportunity. You would do well to find a worse dictator currently alive (or arguably even dead).
But Kim, says Rodman, is his pal. “He is my friend first ... and I love him,” Rodman said on Sunday.
Over the past 20 years in journalism, I have written about and indeed met many celebrities who cannot quite cope with life once they are off the stage. They miss the adrenalin rush, the public adulation and media attention. They often would do anything to be back in the public glare.
But Rodman has taken this to new depths. Hanging out with a brutal dictator will no doubt give him the attention he craves. Just like his last visit to the country, he will be treated as a hero (at least inside North Korea).
Once the birthday bash is over and he steps outside the country, he will be back to his original self: a tragic buffoon.