North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un may be leading a regime known for human rights violations and suppression of free speech, but for retired NBA player Dennis Rodman, he's just a pal who likes basketball.
In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Rodman talked about his bizarre recent visit to North Korea and how he bonded with Kim Jong Un. "He's my friend," Rodman responded when Stephanopoulos pressed him about the reported human rights violations in North Korea. "I don't condone what he does, but as a person to person, he's my friend."
"He's a great guy," Rodman added.
Kim Jong Un would like for President Obama to "call him," according to Rodman, so that the two can start a diplomatic conversation. The two leaders share an affection for basketball, Rodman pointed out.
Stephanopoulos continued to question Rodman's relationship with the dictator, who has publicly called for the destruction of the United States. "It sounds like you're apologizing for him," Stephanopoulos said. "Someone who ... is a murderer who's your friend is still a murderer."
After Rodman said he plans to return to North Korea, Stephanopoulos gave him a report from the Human Rights Watch about the prison camps that reportedly exist in the country. "Thanks for the report," Rodman said. "Guess what, don't hate me."
Later, Rodman tweeted: "I'm not a politician. Kim Jung Un (sic) & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone. Period. End of story. #WORMinNorthKorea"
Watch Rodman's full interview with Stephanopoulos below:
- Politics & Government
- Human Rights
- Kim Jong Un
- North Korea