Dennis Rodman has opened up about his unlikely friend, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, saying he loves karaoke, TV theme tunes and playing table tennis.
The former basketball player, 55, described Jong-un as “friend for life” and claimed he told him that he doesn’t hate America, and that he has no intention of using nuclear weapons.
“When he’s around his people, he’s just like anybody else,” Rodman told Dujour. “He jokes and loves playing basketball, table tennis, pool. They love American ’80s music. They do karaoke to it.
“He has this 13-piece girls band with violins. He gets a mic and they play the whole time. He loves the Doors and Jimi Hendrix. Oldies. When I first went, the live band only played two songs for four hours: the theme songs from Rocky and Dallas.”
Rodman said he is extremely close to the supreme leader and claimed to be the first person to hold his baby daughter Kim Ju-ae.
He said: “I’ve been around his whole family; I’ve held his baby. No one’s ever held his baby before but me. I got pictures of me holding his infant. I gave [his daughter] a little Rodman jersey, we took pictures of it.
“Me, him and her and his wife. I have a lot of pictures of that in my safe-deposit box.”
Rodman has visited North Korea six times since his first trip in 2013. Despite multiple visits his most recent was the first one in which he discussed politics with Jong-un.
He claimed the leader wants to “rewrite the peace treaty” with the US and only houses nuclear bombs as a means of protection, but that he has no plans to detonate them.
Rodman said: “I’ve never told this to anyone, but the last time I was there, they just came out and started saying stuff about what they want from Americans. How they want to rewrite the peace treaty, they want us to get the ships out of South Korea. He’s saying the reason why they have the nuclear bombs is because they know that Americans think they can take over.
“He says, ‘I don’t want to bomb anyone. But we keep our nuclear weapons because we’re such a small country—that’s the only way we can defend ourselves’. They just want people in America and the government to know they don’t hate Americans. They want to work with Americans. They just want them to abide by the agreement that they wrote up years ago.”
Rodman – who has been widely criticised for his frequent visits to the country – is said to have struck up a friendship with Jong-un over his reported obsession with the Chicago Bulls basketball team.