Dennis Rodman, the unlikely new ambassador for sports diplomacy, arrives in North Korea
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Tuesday 26 February 2013
Tattooed, pierced, bleached blonde and almost two metres tall, Dennis Rodman will certainly stand out in North Korea, where the dress code is drab and the average man is up to 8cm shorter than his South Korean neighbour.
The flamboyant former NBA star is visiting the reclusive Communist state with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a Vice film crew, to shoot a documentary for HBO.
Vice founder Shane Smith told the Associated Press they planned to engage in “basketball diplomacy” with the Koreans, by running a basketball camp for children, and by playing with some of the country's leading athletes. Globetrotter Bull Bullard said, “We're going to show them what we do… a lot of magic with the basketball, a lot of wizardry, a lot of fun and entertainment.”
The seven-day visit comes just weeks after the Pyongyang leadership defied UN bans on atomic and missile activity by conducting an underground nuclear missile test, and launching a three-stage rocket. Yet this is the second visit to the country by a high-profile American guest in as many months. Eric Schmidt, Google's Executive Chairman, made a surprise trip to Pyongyang in January. Rodman, an NBA Hall of Famer, won five championships during his career, three with the Chicago Bulls; North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is believed to be a Bulls fan.
Rodman, however, may not be quite so au fait with Korean geopolitics as his host is with basketball. Tweeting upon arrival in North Korea, he suggested he might meet South Korean popstar Psy during his visit. “Maybe I'll run into the Gangnam Style dude while I'm here,” he wrote.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Oscar Pistorius trial: Case turns into a bizarre safari following the tracks of a wounded lion
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Liam Neeson on death of wife Natasha Richardson: ‘When I hear the door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her’
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson
- 5 Livr: A social network only for drunk people
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...