CNN on Dennis Rodman North Korea controversy

The controversy surrounding comments by Dennis Rodman has given former teammate Charles Smith reason to come forward and set the record straight, while admitting that Rodman put a lot of pressure on himself. Smith mentioned that he was unaware that it was the birthday of North Korea’s leader.

In an informative interview shown on CNN News Charles Smith discusses that North Korea didn’t pay them, and that the former NBA players went to North Korea for a basketball diplomacy trip. This meant they were not paid by the repressive regime.

Charles Smith retired from the NBA in 1997, mentioned that an Irish online betting company as well as a documentary film crew paid expenses for the ex-professionals, although the Irish company, Paddy Power recently stated they have removed its name from Rodman’s project and this was down to the execution of Kim’s uncle and top aide, Jang Song Thaek.

In addition, Paddy Power will still to honour their “contractual commitments” to the team, while Smith informs CNN this trip wasn’t about the money and more about highlighting this sport to a reclusive country, along with exchanging cultural information with other athletes. This was not seen as a birthday present for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The fact that it was his birthday did not feature and Smith said “And it didn’t matter to me once I found out that it was his birthday.” He also mentions how he felt for Rodman and the pressure that came with pulling off this big event. It was hard keeping everyone together, especially once the controversy began over traveling to North Korea.

Smith said he had no regrets about the trip and felt this was the ideal opportunity to find out how African-Americans are perceived, while Rodman appears to bow and sings ‘Happy Birthday’ to the leader. Smith also feels that this was the ideal journey for learning things for both parties, as sports stories were swapped with North Korea’s sports minister and national team the basketball players, so Smith regards the visit as being positive outcome.

Therefore, do you feel this trip has helped relations between North Korea controversial leader and America?