Poor Dennis Rodman. All he wants to do is enjoy a nice, quiet trip to North Korea with seven fellow former NBA players to celebrate Kim Jong-un's birthday, yet he just can't help but turn his television interviews into "fiery" shouting matches with CNN hosts.
I mean, what did you expect? This is Dennis Rodman we're talking about.
The interview got pretty intense. CNN anchor Chris Cuomo asked Rodman about the political implications of his visit to North Korea and friendship with Kim Jong-un, of which Rodman is defensive — he says of Kim: "I love my friend. This is my friend." — but it's when Cuomo pressed Rodman on detained U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae that the interview turned ugly.
Seemingly defending North Korea's detainment of Bae, Rodman yelled at Cuomo, asking the host things like, "Do you understand what Kenneth Bae did in this country?" and, "You tell me. Why is he held captive?" Rodman then started swearing, and turned the lovely phrase, "I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think." And people say CNN is boring.
Thankfully, Rodman wasn't alone for the interview, and the other former NBA players he was with were there to help him out. Charles Smith, in particular, remained calm and explained the situation to Cuomo. "We're not here to deal with the politics," he said, calling the game "basketball diplomacy" intended as a "cultural exchange."
Maybe Rodman will listen to Smith next time and avoid politics. Maybe the rest of his trip will pass uneventful. But I wouldn't count on it.