North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Dennis Rodman and Harlem Globetrotters Practice with DPRK B-Ball Players

The Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Indoor Gymnasium where US and DPRK basketball players practiced on 27 February 2013 (Photo: Google image)

The Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Indoor Gymnasium where US and DPRK basketball players practiced on 27 February 2013 (Photo: Google image)

DPRK state media reported on 27 February (Wednesday) that former NBA player Dennis Rodman, along with members of the Harlem Globetrotters, “conducted joint training” (work out session and practice) with teenaged (U-18) DPRK basketball players at the Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Indoor Stadium (gymnasium).  According to KCNA “match tactics, training mode and technique movement of the players of the two countries were exchanged at the joint training” and “a workshop on basketball technique took place that day.”

According to Xinhua Rodman and the other US basketball players will play in an exhibition game against a DPRK team on 28 February (Thursday) and that “foreign embassies and non-government organizations have been invited to watch.”  It is not clear if Kim Jong Un (Kim Cho’ng-u’n) will attend the game.  Xinhua reported that  DPRK officials declined “to reveal whether their top leader Kim Jong Un, widely believed to be a big basketball fun, would watch the game.”

Xinhua also reported that members of the Harlem Globetrotters received their invitation to visit the country from the DPRK Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports about one month ago and that “local media have given timely coverage of the visit that started on Tuesday, which is different from the case of Google delegation that came to Pyongyang last month. The visit was kept quiet until they flew back to the U.S.”  It was also reported that while most members of the basketball delegation will remain in country until 5 March, Dennis Rodman will depart the DPRK at an earlier date.

Basketball hoops positioned behind Kim Jong Il in state media images from a December 2008 inspection of KPA Air Force Unit #1016 and a visit to the Kim Jong Suk Naval Academy in 2009 (Photos: KCTV screengrab, KCNA)

Basketball hoops positioned behind Kim Jong Il in state media images from a December 2008 inspection of KPA Air Force Unit #1016 and a visit to the Kim Jong Suk Naval Academy in 2009 (Photos: KCTV screengrab, KCNA)

Kim Jong Un inspects a multi-purpose gymnasium with a basketball court at Mangyo'ngdae Revolutionary School, and bounces a basketball during another visit, in 2012 (Photos: KCTV screengrabs, KCNA-Yonhap file photo)

Kim Jong Un inspects a multi-purpose gymnasium with a basketball court at Mangyo’ngdae Revolutionary School, and bounces a basketball during another visit, in 2012 (Photos: KCTV screengrabs, KCNA-Yonhap file photo)

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