Leaving North Korea, Rodman calls Kim Great Leader
by Johnny Punish
PYONGYANG, North Korea – Ending his unexpected round of basketball diplomacy in North Korea on Friday, ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman called leader Kim Jong Un an “awesome guy” and said his father and grandfather were “great leaders.”
Rodman, the highest-profile American to meet Kim since he inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011, watched a basketball game with the authoritarian leader Thursday and later drank and dined on sushi with him.
At Pyongyang’s Sunan airport on his way to Beijing, Rodman said it was “amazing” that the North Koreans were “so honest.” He added that Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s founders, “were great leaders.”
“He’s proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him,” Rodman said of Kim Jong Un. “Guess what, I love him. The guy’s really awesome.”
At Beijing’s airport, Rodman pushed past waiting journalists without saying anything.
Rodman’s visit to North Korea began Monday and took place amid tension between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test just two weeks ago, making clear the provocative act was a warning to the United States to drop what it considers a “hostile” policy toward the North.
Rodman traveled to Pyongyang with three members of the professional Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy and a production crew to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series.
Kim, a diehard basketball fan, told the former Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls star that he hoped the visit would break the ice between the United States and North Korea, said Shane Smith, founder of the New York-based VICE media company.
Dressed in a blue Mao suit, Kim laughed and slapped his hands on a table during the game at Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium as he sat nearly knee to knee with Rodman. Rodman, the man who once turned up in a wedding dress to promote his autobiography, wore a dark suit and dark sunglasses, but still had on his nose rings and other piercings. A can of Coca-Cola sat on the table before him in photos shared with AP by VICE.
Smith, after speaking to the VICE crew in Pyongyang, said Kim and Rodman “bonded” and chatted in English, though Kim primarily spoke in Korean through a translator.
Thursday’s game ended in a 110-110 tie, with two Americans playing on each team alongside North Koreans. After the game, Rodman addressed Kim in a speech before a crowd of tens of thousands of North Koreans and told him, “You have a friend for life,” VICE spokesman Alex Detrick told AP.
At an “epic feast” later, the leader plied the group with food and drinks, and round after round of toasts were made, Duffy said in an email to AP.
Duffy said he invited Kim to visit the United States, a proposal met with hearty laughter from the North Korean leader.
Kim said he hoped sports exchanges would promote “mutual understanding between the people of the two countries,” the official Korean Central News Agency said.
North Korea and the U.S. fought on opposite sides of the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953. The foes never signed a peace treaty, and do not have diplomatic relations.
Rodman’s trip is the second attention-grabbing American visit this year to North Korea. Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, made a four-day trip in January to Pyongyang but did not meet the North Korean leader.
The Obama administration had frowned on the trip by Schmidt, who was accompanied by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson but has avoided criticizing Rodman’s outing, saying it’s about sports.
As for the American mainstream media and their assigns that live in the corridors of power, well, they are not amused. They have a long-standing ready-made enemy to call upon if their current crop of cartoon character-created enemies falls by the wayside.
So having Rodman, an American sports figure, go in and claim that this guy is alright does not fit the narrative and provides a thorn in the side of the military-industrial complex.
In short, re-setting Kim as a good guy is very bad for new world order business.
Johnny Punish founded VT in 2004. After 20 years at the helm, he “retired” from the daily operations in late 2023 passing the ball over to the new owner of VT, Chief Justin Time. He now writes for VT as “Writer Emeritus”. He is also a global citizen eco-activist, visionary, musician, artist, entertainer, businessman, investor, life coach, podcast host, and syndicated columnist.
Punish is an ethnically cleansed Palestinian-American whose maternal family was evicted from their home in Haifa, Palestine in 1948 by Irgun; a Euro-Zionist Settler Terrorist Group. The family became part of the over 1,000,000 Palestinians who are Al-Nakba refugees (The Catastrophe). The family fled to Beirut Lebanon for 13 years eventually emigrating to the USA in 1961 via a Brasilian passport obtained by his Palestinian Brasilian-born grandmother (In the early 1900s, the family was sent to Sao Paolo Brasil as guest workers in the mining industry. Punish’s father is Italian-American from New York City. Punish’s paternal great-grandparents emigrated to the USA from Naples Italy and Marineo in Sicily in the 1890s. Punish was born in the Bronx, New York in 1963.
Punish was educated at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (1980-81) and California State University Fullerton (1981-1984) with studies in accounting and business. Before the “internets” had been invented, he owned and ran (5) national newspapers in the United States of America from 1987-1998. From 2004 to 2023, he owned and managed VT Foreign Policy retiring at the end of 2023.
Punish is also a recording artist. He has over 100 original songs written. He records and produces music. A member of ASCAP, Punish has several songs placed in feature films. His music is promoted worldwide and played on all digital networks and net radio.
He is also the founder and owner of Global Thinkers, a freedom media that helps free thinkers create real wealth.
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