Dennis Rodman says Kim Jong Un is not like ‘people portrayed him to be’

In his post-NBA life, perhaps nothing has garnered Dennis Rodman so much attention as his ties to North Korea.

Rodman, a Hall of Famer, has visited North Korea several times, beginning in 2013 for a basketball exhibition, and formed a friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Rodman has drawn criticism for his ties to Kim, including when he called Kim "a friend for life" and when he seemingly defended Kim and North Korea's infringements on human rights in an angry rant on CNN.

Read more: How former basketball star Dennis Rodman became an unlikely presence at the Trump-Kim summit

While speaking to Business Insider to promote the new ESPN documentary "Rodman: For Better or Worse," Rodman said that Kim is "not that type of person that you think that people portrayed him to be." Rodman, explaining what he would tell U.S. President Donald Trump about Kim if he had the chance, said Kim is "cool and pretty nice."

"If you sit down and talk to him with lunch and then shoot the s— with him, I think you'll say, 'Well, this guy's cool and pretty nice,'" Rodman said.

Rodman said he still receives invites to North Korea, but hasn't been back because President Donald Trump won't let him.

"It's up to Donald Trump," Rodman said. "So if he opens the doors — I get calls all the time. They want me to come back every month, but I can't go because Donald won't let me go."

US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un talk before a meeting in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019, in Panmunjom, Korea.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Trump made history when he became the first U.S. President to meet Kim at a summit in Singapore in 2018. He has since met him again at a second summit in Vietnam. Rodman said, theoretically, Trump would not listen to what he had to say about Kim.

"He wouldn't believe me anyways because Donald Trump is Donald Trump. You know, Donald Trump wants to be the man. He wants to be the man. He wants to be the first guy to do things and stuff like that, which he's not, you know, I met Kim Jong-Un before he did."

Kim rules over a totalitarian state with one of the world's worst human rights records and has been accused of executing political opponents, including his half-brother.

Rodman said his experiences with North Korean people were positive and that he wishes Americans could get a chance to go to the country and experience their culture.

"I just think people need to understand, it's like, if you took time out, if you can just visit and go hang out and you'll see the people in North Korea that they have certain ways," Rodman said. "You have to adapt to it, but that's the culture and the way of life. It's different, but it's interesting to see."

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