In an exclusive CNN interview, Dennis Rodman gets upset when asked about Kenneth Bae, who is being held in North Korea. More from CNN at http://www.cnn.com/
Our own Chris Cuomo pressed Rodman in answering those questions from Pyongyang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODMAN: Why North Korea? Why? I love my friend. I love my friend. This is my friend.
CHARLES SMITH, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Let me add to this. People have asked why we have come here. We’re here because it’s about doing great will around the world.
And we’re experienced at this. We have been to Taiwan, to the Gao Zhong Dai village and love to impact children families around the world.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, “NEW DAY”: Charles, I’m well aware of the good work that you have done. The man sitting to your right, Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, but you have to understand the criticism comes because you are not in Taiwan.
You are in North Korea that is ruled by a man who just killed his uncle, holding an American, Kenneth Bae, hostage, for reasons we don’t understand, and is known as one of the bad actors on the globe at this time, not someone to get a birthday present of NBA talent.
Do you understand that?
SMITH: I think that in our minds, we came to do what we have been doing worldwide, which has been the same schedule.
We’re all Americans. We’re here to do goodwill, and, again, we’re apologetic. We did not know that it was going to take this type of negative spin on what we were doing, because we’re not politicians, we’re not ambassadors.
We’re here to do what we have been doing most of our lives. CUOMO: Charles, I get it. But it’s about where you do it, as well.
And, again, this is coming from somebody who is a fan and a supporter of a lot of the work that you have done.
But Dennis, when you bring him into this place and you call this ruler your friend, when he’s executing his uncle and holding an American hostage, he is not a friend to the Bae family, he is not a friend to your country.
And you have to understand that, Dennis. You can’t pretend like you don’t get why people are upset.
RODMAN: It’s amazing that, you know, that you are saying this right now. You’re saying 10 guys here, nine guys here. They believe what I’m doing.
Doug Christie, everyone knows Doug Christie. Everyone knows Vin Baker. Everyone knows Charles Smith. Everyone knows everyone here.
And it’s amazing how we thrive on negativity. Does anyone this guy is only 31-years-old?
CUOMO: Dennis, he could be 31. He could be 51. He just killed his uncle and is holding an American hostage. The family is desperate for his return. They don’t even know why he’s being held.
It’s been a year, Dennis. This is your friend, the guy you call your friend. Come on, Dennis. Let’s just be honest about this, because you put these guys in this situation.
RODMAN: No, no, no. No, no, no. Watch this. I’m going to tell you one thing around the world.
RODMAN: Around the world, you’re saying 10 great individuals sitting right in front of your face, around the world, and it’s going global.
These guys have said certain things about their families, what they’re saying about them while they’re here. This is not about me. It’s one thing.
If I could open the door a little bit, just a little bit, just a little bit, it ain’t about, like, you know, trying to crack — trying to, you know, change will. It’s about one thing.
You know what? No one ever, ever, asked anyone in the world why we have Olympics, and we have struggles around the world with all the countries around the world, but when the Olympics are around, there’s no problems. It’s all about the game. People love to do one thing. sports.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: All right. We’re going to have much more of this exclusive interview. It is provocative, it is controversial, it is amazing.
We’re going to have more with Dennis Rodman. It gets even more bizarre, as well, Rodman accusing the American missionary, Kenneth Bae, being held in North Korea, of wrongdoing. That is straight ahead.
Plus this, as well. Imagine being stuck on a train for hours overnight in the freezing cold. That’s what happened to passengers on three Amtrak trains.
One rider said it was like purgatory, up next.
MALVEAUX: Dennis Rodman getting very combative. He is accusing the American missionary being held in North Korea of doing something wrong.
Rodman is now back in Pyongyang. This time, he’s taken a team of former NBA players for this basketball exhibition game.
It is to celebrate the birthday of the country’s brutal dictator, Kim Jong-un, a man that Rodman calls friend.
We see Rodman losing his temper during this exclusive interview with Chris Cuomo, but first you hear from Charles Smith, also defending the trip. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: You say it’s more complicated than basketball. Basketball is not complicated to us, and that’s what we do.
We’re not in here for complications. And, again, we apologize for what has — kind of the storm that has been created from our presence.
CUOMO: The game has been presented as a birthday present to the ruler. I’m not here to fight with you guys. I respect what you’re doing.
I’m just concerned for the family of this man who is held there, and I am concerned, as many Americans are, about giving a birthday present to a man who is seen as a despot who just had his uncle executed.
Dennis, you understand the issue. It’s not about hating on American basketball players.
SMITH: Yes, but you can continue to talk about the different activities that take place here. We have activities that take place — there’s activities that take place all over the world.
We are using basketball as a bridge for cultural exchange. And that’s all about communication. We’re not — again, we’re not here to deal with the politics. The date of the game is the date of the game.
CUOMO: Dennis, let me end on this. You do have a relationship with this man. You’ve said it many times. We’ve seen it demonstrated —
CUOMO: — for whatever reason.
Are you going to take an opportunity, if you get it, to speak up for the family of Kenneth Bae and to say, “Let us know why this man is being held,” that this is wrong, that he is sick.