- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The latest in the Dennis Rodman-North Korea debacle is that the former NBA great kicked off Wednesday’s exhibition game in Pyongyang with a solo song to despot Kim Jong-un: Happy birthday, dear leader.

AOL reported that Mr. Rodman dedicated the game to his “best friend” Mr. Kim, who sat with his wife and other high-ranking government officials in a special section overseeing the court at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium. About 14,000 others cheered as Mr. Rodman sang his birthday wishes.

Playing with Mr. Rodman were former NBA players Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, Craig Hodges, Doug Christie, Charles Smith and four streetballers.

Mr. Rodman told the crowd that he was honored to play in the country’s capital city and that the game was “historic,” AOL reported.

Mr. Rodman at first found it difficult to convince 11 basketball players from America to travel to North Korea, given the closed-door nature of the nation and the fact that Mr. Kim had just executed his uncle in a crackdown on government corruption. But the members of the team said they finally agreed to come because they thought the game might prove a means of improving communications with those in the country, AOL reported.