Bastketball legend Dennis Rodman and Paddy Power today announced details of the Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational, an international basketball event taking place in the North Korean capital Pyongyang in January 2014, with the official support and backing of the DPRK government and pint-sized leader, Kim Jong-Un.
The event will match the North Korean national basketball team against an All-Star selection put together by Rodman in conjunction with key stakeholders from the world of basketball. A second match will also be played in June 2014 between both sides in Europe.
In what looks set to be both diplomatic and sports history in the making, Rodman made the announcement at a press conference in New York this morning saying, ‘Kim loves basketball, and he’s interested in building trust and understanding through sport and cultural exchanges.
“I know in time Americans will see I’m just trying to help us all get along and see eye to eye through basketball, and with my friendship with Kim I know this will happen. I am certain that the Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational will move things along in the right direction.”
Also speaking at today’s press conference was Dr Daniel Pinkston, North East Asia Deputy Project Director, at International Crisis Group – a well-regarded NGO with an established track record in North Korea.
Pinkston said: “The last few years have been difficult for North Korea watchers seeking new policy prescriptions for dealing with Pyongyang. Thanks to the support of Paddy Power, Rodman’s visit had opened a window of opportunity to bring change to North Korea.”
Paddy Power chipped in as well. “We’ve been working with Dennis on this historic project since February. The scale and ambition of the project got us really excited and we are proud to be supporting Dennis to help him realise his dream,” he said.
“We’ll be working hard over the coming months to make the Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational a world-class event and look forward to announcing more details soon.”
Yes, it’s all very WTF!?
Things I didn't expect today: Paddy Power and Dennis Rodman to announce a game between North Korea and a Rodman selection in Pyongyang, 2014
— Gavan Reilly (@gavreilly) September 9, 2013
So, Dennis Rodman for Secretary of State, or what?
— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) September 9, 2013
This Dennis Rodman / North Korea story keeps getting better and better. You couldn't come up with something like this.
— Ed McDaniel (@steadyeddyyy) September 9, 2013
If Dennis Rodman saves the world from North Korea, the Men in Black ending suddenly becomes a lot more believable.
— Gam'n'Cheese (@NickGamrath) September 9, 2013