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Rodman Rants During CNN Interview, Defends N. Korea Trip

Dennis Rodman gave a fiery interview with CNN\'s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday, defending his trip to play basketball in North Korea.
Posted at 3:14 PM, Jan 07, 2014

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman exchanged verbal blows with CNN's Chris Cuomo and defended his controversial trip to North Korea in a satellite interview Tuesday.

 

"No, I don’t give a s*** what you think. I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think.” (ViaCNN)

That’s Rodman reaching a boiling point during the interview on CNN’s New Day.  His conversation with Cuomo intensified after the anchor asked Rodman if he would talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about matters of diplomacy -- specifically the execution of Kim’s uncle and the detention of U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae.

Rodman fired back and claimed his trip is quote "all about the game" and a "cultural exchange."  He admitted Bae did something wrong, but remained cryptic about any details.

CUOMO: "You tell me."

RODMAN: "You tell me. Why is he held captive?"

CUOMO: "They haven’t released any charges. They haven’t released any reason."

RODMAN: "I would love to speak on this."

CUOMO: "Go ahead." (ViaCNN)

But Rodman stopped the Bae conversation there and instead talked about his teammate's "sacrifices."

Multiple media outlets called Rodman’s actions a complete "meltdown."

USA Today reports Rodman was almost "brought to tears" by the interview and at multiple points, fellow player Charles D. Smith tried to step in, but Rodman continued, defiant.

 

Smith, who initially led the interview, echoed Rodman’s thoughts, saying they were just basketball players "doing great will around the world." Earlier, he mentioned to Cuomo, 

 

"Do you really think the leaders are going to listen to what we have to say? … we’re not here to do that." (Via CNN)

Rodman and at least 10 other basketball players are in North Korea right now putting on an exhibition show against the national basketball team.  The game will reportedly take place on Kim's birthday, as he is a fan of basketball.

In the wake of Rodman’s rant, The Wire says Cuomo’s questions might be warranted.

"Rodman has repeatedly refused to bring up Bae's plight with his pal Kim, despite initially promising to do so." (Via The Wire)

The site is referring to a September 2013 interview on HuffPost Live where the former NBA player said he would ask for Kenneth Bae's release. Bae is currently serving a 15 year sentence hard labor in North Korea on unclear charges.

Rodman is currently on his third trip to North Korea.  He first traveled there last February, drawing controversy then and this is the first time former NBA players have joined him.