FLASHBACK: Here’s A Look At The Unusual Friendship Between Dennis Rodman And Kim Jong Un

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met on Tuesday for a historic summit in Singapore, but another familiar face arrived in Singapore, too: Dennis Rodman.

The former NBA star was not a part of the summit, but showed up in Singapore in an unofficial capacity to support his “friends” Trump and Kim. (RELATED: Dennis Rodman Sheds Tears Over North Korean Summit, Says Obama Would Not Recognize His Efforts)

Trump and Rodman are friendly after Rodman’s stint on “Celebrity Apprentice” — Trump even called the former player a “genius” on Friday — but it is Kim and Rodman’s unusual friendship that has always attracted the most attention (and created the weirdest photo ops).

The friendly relationship started in 2013, when Rodman, three Harlem Globetrotters and a Vice Media documentary crew attended a basketball exhibition in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital. Rodman was even part of a group invited to Kim’s home for a party.

Since then, he has made multiple trips to North Korea, including one in 2014 after he ranted on CNN implying that American Kenneth Bae was being held by Kim’s regime for legitimate reasons. Bae, a Christian missionary imprisoned for allegedly conspiring against the North Korean government, has since been released and credited Rodman’s rant as a “catalyst for his release.”

Rodman stated multiple times that he deserved accolades for his unusual brand of basketball diplomacy. (RELATED: Here’s What Trump, Kim Jong Un Agreed Upon At Summit)

“If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong,” he told Sports Illustrated in 2013

More recently, Rodman traveled to North Korea in June 2017 and presented Kim with a copy of Trump’s “The Art of the Deal” along with other gifts via Kim’s Minister of Sports, Kim Il Guk. After that trip, Rodman tried to take credit for the release of American college student Otto Warmbier, who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster. 

Now Rodman is tearfully celebrating the historic summit between the United States and North Korea — and perhaps planning his next trip to the DPRK.

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