In an interview on this weekend’s broadcast of “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on ABC, former NBA power forward Dennis Rodman downplayed human rights abuses in North Korea under Kim Jong-un, and said the dictator wants President Barack Obama to give him a call.
“[I] don’t condone [the human rights abuses],” Rodman said. “I hate the fact that he’s doing that. But the fact of it is he a human being, though. … I didn’t talk about that. I understand that, I understand that … when you grow up in that environment, especially when your grandpa and your father — the kid is only 28 years old.”
Rodman, whose visit to North Korea is slated to be the topic of an HBO documentary, added that the young dictator has his eyes on the president.
“He wants Obama to do one thing: call him,” Rodman said. “He said, ‘If you can, Dennis — I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”
“Guess what, guess what — the one thing … he loves basketball,” Rodman said. “I said the same thing — Obama loves basketball. Let’s start there, let’s start there. When you see the quotes in the papers, he says that. He says that about sports. Both these guys love basketball so much.”
Throughout the interview, Rodman referred to Kim Jong-un as his friend and said he was humble, but loved power.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As a great guy, he puts 200,000 people in prison camps?
RODMAN: Well guess what — we do the same things here.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We have prison camps here in the United States?
RODMAN: This is all politics, right? This is all politics, right? He don’t want to do that. I’m not like a diplomat. I don’t want to do that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But it sounds like you’re apologizing for him?
RODMAN: No, I’m not apologizing for him. I think guess what — he’s was a good guy to me. He was my friend. I don’t condone what he does. But as a person-to-person, he’s my friend.