News

Dennis Rodman: ‘Take me’ instead of Kenneth Bae

Dennis Rodman: ‘Take me’ instead of Kenneth Bae

TAKE ME: Dennis Rodman, seen here during his recent trip to North Korea, says he would trade places with American Kenneth Bae. Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former basketball star Dennis Rodman said on Friday he was willing to trade places with Kenneth Bae, an American missionary imprisoned in North Korea, the next time he visits his friend, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Rodman, in a live interview with CNN from a substance abuse rehabilitation facility in the New York City area, said he felt sympathy for Bae’s family.

Earlier this month, an agitated, drunken Rodman gave an interview with CNN from North Korea in which he suggested that Bae was responsible for his imprisonment.

Rodman, who has made four trips to North Korea, said he knew nothing of Bae’s case when he first mentioned him – and still does not.

“I have sympathy – I don’t want anyone in any country or anywhere in the world to be hostage for something maybe they did or did not do,” Rodman said in Friday’s interview.

PHOTOS: Dennis Rodman through the years | Dennis Rodman’s North Korean basketball game 

“I would do anything … if they said, ‘We’ll take Dennis Rodman and we’ll let Kenneth Bae go’, you know what? I’d do that, straight ahead. Take me. I would do that.”

He also offered to take his CNN interviewer, Chris Cuomo, to North Korea with him.

Bae was detained in North Korea in 2012 while leading a tour group and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for subversion.

Rodman was one of the National Basketball Association’s top rebounders during his 1986-2000 career and earned a spot in the Hall of Fame.

He played for five teams and his flamboyant personality, tattoos, body piercings and multi-colored hair at times outshone his skills.

On his January trip Rodman took a contingent of other former NBA players for an exhibition game in Pyongyang. He sang “Happy Birthday” at a celebration marking the 31st birthday of Kim, who he called his best friend and a great leader.

Rodman checked into the rehab center shortly after returning from North Korea earlier this month.

(Reporting by Bill Trott; Editing by Sophie Hares)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Bat boy, 9, dies after hit in head by swing at baseball game

17-overlay2

The boy was struck by a follow-through swing near the on-deck circle.

in Sports

SEC spares no expense in hiring 14 new coordinators

muschamp

Coaches around the Southeastern Conference have had to do a little extra homework on opposing coordinators during the offseason.

in National

Obama to unveil tougher climate change plan

globalwarming

President Barack Obama will unveil the final version of his plan to tackle greenhouse gases, kicking off what is expected to be a tumultuous legal battle between federal environmental regulators and coal industry supporters.

in Sports

Blatter gives up IOC membership as FIFA exit nears

fifa

FIFA President Sepp Blatter was relieved of his International Olympic Committee ex officio membership on Monday, seven months before he will be replaced as the head of soccer's governing body.

in National, Sports

Key Olympic powerbroker urges U.S. bid for 2024

olympics

The most powerful people in the Olympic movement have urged the U.S. to quickly find a replacement for Boston and push ahead with plans to bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.