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Basketball Diplomacy: Rodman Laid Groundwork for Trump-Kim Accord

This week US President Donald Trump finally met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore for their much anticipated peace summit which, despite being panned by the US corporate media, is still being hailed by others as a success. The historic meeting has resulted in an memorandum of understanding that put Pyongyang on the path toward ‘denuclearization’, as well as promises from the US to halt joint military exercises with South Korea. But many are not aware of an unlikely diplomat who set this week’s events into motion back in 2013.

When American basketball star Dennis Rodman began applying his unique brand of “Basket Diplomacy” back in 2013 – 2014, he was all but written off by the mainstream media and Washington officials. However, 21WIRE covered this incredible story previously, chronicling Rodman’s incredible journey – from his humble beginnings in rural Oklahoma, to his new ambassadorial mission in the DPRK in a feature article entitled, Dennis, The Dear Leader and ‘The Fish That Saved Pyongyang’Still, Rodman’s altruistic efforts were maligned by the mainstream press, but 21wire warned the naysayers not to underestimate him:

“People have been betting against Dennis Rodman his whole life, so don’t think that any public ridicule, or geopolitical slurring will deter him. In that respect, he probably has more to offer to world peace than the current US Secretary of State and heir to the ketchup throne. He already upstaged John Kerry, so don’t underestimate him next time.”

It’s crucial to note that Rodman is one of the few people in the world who has a personal relationship with both Kim, and Trump (with whom Rodman had previously done a stint on Trump’s The Apprentice back in 2009). He is also the first high-profile American to win the trust of Pyongyang, something Rodman achieved by delivering a simple goodwill gesture to the North Korean leader – something which Obama, Bush and Clinton could not manage in each of their eight years in office.

Following Rodman’s goodwill basketball tour in 2014, CNN’s Chris Cuomo had lambasted Rodman and his colleagues over their exhibition game in what CNN has derogatorily dubbed “The Hermit Kingdom.” Back then, the mainstream media perceived Rodman in a position of weakness and used his unlikely friendship with North Korean as a point of ridicule, rather than for the unorthodox diplomacy that it truly was.  This week however, the tables have turned on Cuomo, who was surprisingly conciliatory to Rodman, and even acknowledged Rodman’s fateful statement made four years when he told Cuomo live on air, “The door (the North Korea) will open.” The former NBA All-Star then went on to deliver an highly memorable emotional and tearful plea – which might be one of the most authentic segments to air on CNN in living memory. Watch:

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What was most revealing about this interview was how Rodman revealed how he was brushed-off by then President Barack Obama, as the president arrogantly dismissed Rodman’s efforts to build a diplomatic bridge between Washington and Pyongyang.

Bearing this in mind and considering the fact that it was Rodman who did the important and difficult groundwork which opened to door for these present bilateral US-DPRK peace talks, then perhaps a noble gesture would be for Obama to return his ‘preemptive’ 2008 Nobel Peace Prize and present it to Dennis Rodman – who has undoubtedly earned the honour.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DENNIS RODMAN & HIS PEACE TOUR IN OUR 2014 FEATURE:
Dennis, The Dear Leader and ‘The Fish That Saved Pyongyang’

READ MORE NORTH KOREA NEWS: 21st Century Wire North Korea Files

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