Love and Basketball

I HAVE TO ADMIT — Dennis Rodman was a favorite player of mine in the 90’s.  Why? Because he was good at what I identified with in sports myself: Playing Defense.  Unfortunately, back then while he displayed legendary defense on the court, he spent most of his time off court playing offense.  And that’s in addition to coming in late to practices, not showing up at all, overall giving his coaches and staff a hard time.

One thing about sports is that if you play defense long and hard enough, you’ll find yourself on offense again.  In fact, that’s the premise of defense in the majority of sports, so there’s no reason to be surprised that his defense of “befriending” Kim Jong-un — the last true Cold War Era style Leader of North Korea — will eventually begin offending people.

Let’s get one thing straight; there’s not enough cognitive dissonance in the world to allow Rodman to be totally oblivious to the fact that Kim Jong-un is actually a despotic fellow who in recent months had his uncle, who was the most competent person next to him in North Korea, executed ruthlessly.  Dennis Rodman stated that Kim Jong-un is a friend for life; I’ll have to take his word for it.  But what type of friend? A friend that listens? Takes and understands criticism? Will not kill you when you step out of line?

Let’s look at Kim Jong-un.  It’s telling to say that we the United States of all nations, know very little about him.  In the advent of his father’s death, we didn’t know if he was 25, 28 or 30 years old.  North Korea has such a tight grip on information control, no one there has ordinary access to the outside world.  You’d have a hard time finding a geological North Korean on Facebook or Twitter, for example. Being that they cannot peer outside, we cannot look in. We didn’t even know he had a daughter until Rodman confirmed so.

Dennis Rodman remains the first and only Westerner to get within choking distance with Kim Jong-un. With a man who is capable of killing his own uncle, it’s actually amazing to see that he apparently trusts Rodman — the 90’s NBA original Bad Boy — more than his own flesh and blood. So, this brings up the question of what type of friend he sees Rodman as? A person outside of his domain of control, who isn’t a kiss-ass like 100% of his cronies, who’s strong enough to tell him like it is, and he likes that? Used as a means to show his nation that the world loves him? After all, he did take a satire article serious and displayed it as a truth in his nation before. Or perhaps as an expendable ally that can be disposed of when he starts to ask too many questions?

Through Dennis Rodman’s meltdown, and Charles Smith’s calm and cool, I DO see a valid point they make: As a private citizen, is it your duty to use your ties for a greater good? What exactly would be the greater good after all? Call me crazy, but I think that it’s any American’s duty as a citizen, private or not, to seek the greater good. But fringe logic wonders that wouldn’t it be batshit insane, to look for leadership — political leadership, mind you — from the guy who trolled the NBA (and to a far lesser extent, society) throughout most of his tenure? What the hell are we expecting from The Worm, of all people?

Kenneth Bae is an American who is locked up in North Korea, presumably because he was a practicing Christian in an Athiest State, who exercises a very tight level of control of the “freedom” of expression. By North Korea’s logic, to do so constitutes insurrection. Is it a moot point, that through Rodman’s meltdown, what he’s really trying to say, is that he’s not trying to get himself, or the ex-NBA stars he’s bringing, fucking killed over there?

Perhaps he is Kim Jung-un’s best friend, and he can never harm him. Sounds like a stretch, but listen up: while he may not kill his “dearest” friend, he may very will kill Charles Smith, or any of the other players that most of us don’t even care about. I’m speculating, but I’m thinking… that Rodman is thinking of the safety of the men he’s bringing over there. I think Rodman might actually have sense, and while he will not say it in slandering a “friend”, I’ll say it — while Kenneth Bae’s story is a tragedy that needs remedy, one Kenneth Bae in a North Korean prison might be better than Kenneth Bae receiving six or eight more American prisonmates.

In the video, we see an aging Worm, completely fettered, talking in a professional wrestler voice, go ballistic. Perhaps he’s the only man in the room with his head on right; Rodman knows how dangerous Kim Jong-un is, and ultimately he’s responsible of the safety of the men he’s bringing with him. He’s very cognizant of the situation at hand and he simply doesn’t want to end the lives of those he’s bringing with him. Maybe he is leading. A basketball team, that is. That’s the number one thing that ties this bromance together: the love of the game. Basketball before country? Perhaps, because he is not a government official; he’s a private citizen. And that’s the bigger picture that many to include journalists might be missing.

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