North Korea wants peace: Kim Jong Un expert and former NBA Defensive Player of the Year

Dennis Rodman appeared on “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos this morning to talk about the VICE magazine-arranged trip he took to North Korea, where he spent a significant amount of time with Kim Jong Un.

The exchange was as bizarre as one would expect it to be.

Rodman, who at times was fairly incoherent, called Kim “a great guy,” and a “humble man” — albeit one who “loves power.”

He did make news, however.

The seven time NBA rebounding champion — described as knowing more about the 28-year old autocrat than anyone at the CIA — said that Kim wants President Obama to make direct overtures to North Korea.

“’I don’t wanna do war.’ He said that to me,” Rodman stated, saying that Obama should reach out because “the kids only 28 years old.”

He also said that Kim’s violent rhetoric toward the U.S. “comes from his father,” and that he and Obama can find common ground in at least one respect:

“He loves basketball. Obama loves basketball. Let’s start there.”

VICE co-founder and CEO Shane Smith, who spoke to Stephanopolous from New York, admitted that Rodman’s trip was “a crazy story,” but said that the junket was “reminiscent of ping-pong diplomacy.”

Despite the fact that Rodman declined to talk about North Korea’s labor camps, claiming that “people there respect [Kim] and his family” without speculating what might happen to them if they declined the opportunity to be deferential, Smith rejected Stephanopoulos’ suggestion that the visit was “a propaganda coup” for North Korea.

The whole world knows what’s going on there, Smith said, and North Korean state media will say whatever they want, anyway.

He pointed out that the New York Philharmonic Orchestra has visited Pyongyang, too.

“Was that a propaganda coup? I don’t think so.”

Samuel Knight

Samuel Knight is a freelance journalist living in DC and a former intern at the Washington Monthly.