icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm
8 May, 2020 17:57

'Drunk as sh*t': Dennis Rodman recalls boozy karaoke session with Kim Jong-un

'Drunk as sh*t': Dennis Rodman recalls boozy karaoke session with Kim Jong-un

Former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman has discussed how his unlikely friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was forged in a vodka-soaked karaoke session after the pair had watched a basketball game together.

Rodman was famed for his larger-than-life character during his playing days, which included a colorful on-court persona and wild-child lifestyle off it.  

But even by Rodman's eccentric standards his life took a bizarre twist when in 2013 he found himself striking up a friendship with one of the world's most reclusive leaders.

The tale is all the more surprising given that Rodman said he had no idea who Kim was during his first trip to North Korea.

"When they asked me to go to North Korea, I was like, 'Hey man, I'll go.' I was thinking I was going to do an autograph show, play a basketball game. I didn't know anything about North Korea...," Rodman told Mike Tyson's Hotboxin' podcast.  

"I told my agent, I said, 'I'll go there, as long as I'm safe'. But it was so cool the fact that as soon as you get off the plane, the red carpet, all the dignitaries, everbody's in suits.


"You walk in, you got 80 people in the room, they ask you questions, 'Are you happy to be in North Korea?'

"So I first met him [Kim Jong-un], I was with the Harlem Globetrotters, I wasn't playing so some of the dignitaries came down, and they asked me to go with them, so I'm thinking, 'I'm going to jail', right.

"So I walked up to the stands, in front of a desk with these high chairs. 

"Next thing I know I've got 22,000 North Koreans clapping, I think they're doing it for me. And they said, 'no, it's for him'.

"And I was like, 'Who's that guy?' They said, 'That's 'Kim Jong-un', and I have no idea who the f*ck this guy is, and he's over there waving his hand, he's like 30 years old.


"And he walks over, sits next to me, puts his hand on my arm and he's like, 'It's OK'.   

"People were waving and crying, and eventually everyone sits down. And he starts talking to me in Korean through the interpreter. 

"And he asks, 'Do you like my country?' And I say, 'yeah it's cool'.

"He says, 'I love basketball'. And I say, 'I love it too'. And he said, 'I'm so glad you're here'.

"And he said, 'We asked Michael Jordan to come but he wouldn't come, so we asked you'. Michael said, 'Hell no I'm not going'. So they asked me."


From there, Rodman revealed they had partied the night away at a vodka-fueled karaoke session.   

"Anyway, we're sitting there talking about basketball the whole time, chatting and all of a sudden the game's over and we go into this room, like 70 people around the wall, politicians and sh*t, and he's like, 'Dennis, we'd love you to come back, we'll have some dinner tonight, a little karaoke, some vodka.'

"I said, 'OK great', and the next thing you know we're going to dinner, just shooting the sh*t, getting drunk as sh*t.

"He gets up, starts singing karaoke, and I have no clue what he's on about.


"And he has this 18-piece women's band, who are like hot-hot, and the whole time they play one f*cking song, it was the theme from 'Dallas'. 

"I was like, 'What was this all about'.

"And before I left I said, 'Hey guys, here the songs I want you to play the next time I come here, 'It's Pearl Jam Alive, Van Halen, this this this'. And the next time they played all those songs. 

"We became really good friends after that. I don't get into politics, but I came here to communicate with sports.

"I've seen the military, I've the missiles, I've seen every damn thing. I've see the mausoleums and stuff like that."

Rodman revealed he had even played with the secretive Kim's daughter when she was just six months old. 

"He has a baby girl, when I first got over there she was like six months old, I was playing with the baby the whole time.

"We were all having a great time on this island he has with his wife and stuff. I was smart enough to do one thing, I brought him a baby Dennis Rodman jersey."

Rodman had said his meeting with Kim had "resonated" with him because "everybody hates this f*cking guy."

Also on rt.com Carmen Electra reveals on-court romp with Rodman at Chicago Bulls practice facility

The basketball icon, now 58, went on to make several more trips to North Korea to see Kim, even claiming credit for paving the way for the talks in 2019 with Donald Trump - another man Rodman classes as a friend.

Rodman said however that as a result of his visits his phone was being tapped by the FBI.

"This is why I have a flip phone. They track my calls all the time. Every day since I went there. That's why I have these [flip] phones," he said. 

When Tyson asked about the 'starvation and tyranny' in the country, Rodman said: "I didn't see anything like that. I didn't see [the country] in that depth." 


Never far from the headlines during his playing career, Rodman's star has risen again in recent week with the airing of smash-hit ESPN show 'The Last Dance', which covers the 1997-98 Bulls season as they bid for a second 'threepeat' of championships. 

Among the tales was Rodman's epic midseason bender in Las Vegas, after which Michael Jordan was forced to go to his apartment and drag him back to training. 

Also on rt.com Michael Jordan reveals he DRAGGED Bulls teammate Rodman out of bed and back to training after Las Vegas bender with Carmen Electra