In case any other former NBA players are thinking about playing an exhibition game in North Korea, know this: Kim Jong Un is a tyrant who sends dissidents and their family members to suffer in his gulag; who murders political rivals; who threatens the United States with his nuclear arsenal and keeps the Far East destabilized; and who considers himself a living god and expects his subjects to treat him as such.
Your trip to Pyongyang to play basketball will not promote diplomacy, and it will help neither the oppressed North Korean people nor the interests of the free world.
When Dennis Rodman organized a game between former NBA players and a North Korean team in that country's capital last week, he did so to promote himself. Kim Jong Un is his buddy, someone Rodman has described as a “very good guy,” and the feeling appears to be mutual.
But Kim turned the event into a glorification of himself. (The North Korean team won!) Even the cheers of the crowd were orchestrated. Rodman sang happy birthday to the “marshal” and, naturally, everyone cheered and applauded for the camera.
The “marshal” also happens to be holding American missionary Kenneth Bae in prison for anti-state crimes, something that didn't come up during the visit of this American team. What's stunning is that some people believe that Rodman's visit to North Korea was a good thing, because it drew attention to the evil of the North Korean state and to Bae's imprisonment.
Kim Jong Un doesn't care about the negative press he gets in the United States, or that Bae's cause is now known by people who previously couldn't find North Korea on a map. What Rodman and this handful of former NBA players did was allow the dictator to continue to build his own image in the sight of the cowed population of North Korea.
If Dennis Rodman wants to continue his foolish friendship with the North Korean leader, it appears there's no stopping him, but this should be the last time he takes anyone else along to serve the interests of this madman.