Ex-San Antonio Spurs forward Dennis Rodman joined three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a VICE news correspondent for a trip to North Korea to film a news show on the notoriously closed-off country for HBO, the Associated Press reports.
According to the AP, Rodman, who played with the Spurs for the '93-'94 and '94-'95 seasons before leaving for the Chicago Bulls, with whom he won three championships, and VICE's producers "hope to engage in a little 'basketball diplomacy' by running a basketball camp for children and playing with North Korea's top basketball stars."
The AP reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was a fan of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, when Rodman, now 51, played with the club.
Rodman's trip is the second high-profile American visit this year to North Korea, a country that remains in a state of war with the U.S. Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, made a surprise four-day trip in January to Pyongyang, where he met with officials and toured computer labs, just weeks after North Korea launched a satellite into space on the back of a long-range rocket.
"We use the basketball as a tool to build cultural ties, build bridges among countries," Buckets Blakes, a Globetrotters veteran, told the AP. "We're all about happiness and joy and making people smile."