LONDON — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, the new friend of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will this month make a third visit to the reclusive state to train its basketball team, a source involved in the trip said Wednesday.
The heavily tattooed former Chicago Bulls star is organizing friendship exhibition games between North Korea and ex-NBA players in January.
"We're going back, most likely on December 18-21. Dennis is going to train the North Korean team and get them ready for the big match in January," said Rory Scott, a spokesman for the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, which is sponsoring the games.
"We'll be announcing the details of the U.S. NBA players that we're taking out in January. He's going to spend a few days training the North Korean team," Scott told AFP. "I'm going with him, we're taking a documentary crew."
Rodman announced in September that the first game will be on January 8, Kim's birthday, and the other on January 10.
Rodman has struck up an extraordinary friendship with Kim since making his first trip to North Korea in March, when he declared the young ruler a "friend for life."
Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, is reported to be a huge fan of basketball and especially of the Chicago Bulls, with whom Rodman won three NBA titles alongside Michael Jordan in the 1990s.