FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2013 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea. Rodman showed Kim Jong Un some of the finer points of basketball, and the North Korean ruler was so impressed he raided the country's stock of fine food and drink for a party that lasted well into the night. "Guess what, I love him,'' the clearly smitten Rodman said. "The guy's really awesome." (AP Photo/VICE Media, Jason Mojica, File)
Tuesday, March 05, 2013 4:02 am
Column: The Worm opening doors in North Korea
By TIM DAHLBERGAP Sports Columnist
I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
They were certainly a pair of crazy, fun loving guys during their time together in Pyongyang last week. Dennis Rodman showed Kim Jong Un some of the finer points of basketball, and the North Korean ruler was so impressed he raided the country's stock of fine food and drink for a party that lasted well into the night.
"Guess what, I love him," the clearly smitten Rodman said. "The guy's really awesome."
So is Rodman, if only because becoming a diplomat without portfolio got him back in the limelight once again without having to put on a wedding dress. Let the rest of the cast on "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" draw up plans for tasty meatballs. Rodman has far bigger things to do.
He wants President Barack Obama to give Kim a call and sort things out. Kim's a busy man, what with hosting basketball games and tending to his country's nuclear ambitions.
Imagine, though, if others follow his path. Here's what they might have to say after their own trips to the Hermit Kingdom:
LANCE ARMSTRONG: Really enjoyed my time with Kim Jong Un, never thought that he'd have a yellow bracelet just like mine. Not sure what his stands for, and the interpreter said I probably shouldn't ask. Anyway, we rode bikes on the banks of the Taedong River, shared some ice cream and watched a million schoolgirls dance in formation for us. All great fun from a guy I know would never ever try to annihilate the United States with nuclear weapons. Did I make myself clear? They're strictly for peaceful purposes, maybe to show off if someone special comes to town. I don't know if they're even real because, believe me, North Korea has been tested many, many times and always has come up negative for plutonium. If you dare question that, my new buddy has some friends I'd like to acquaint you with.
TIGER WOODS: I couldn't wait until the moment my Gulfstream 5 touched down in Pyongyang. The Kimster was waiting, of course, and we quickly changed into golf shoes and headed to the Dear Leader Country Club and Uranium Enrichment Facility. I couldn't believe how this guy played, and this was without any lessons at all. Pure natural ability like I've never seen before, even in myself. Birdied every hole for a 54, and never missed a putt. The most incredible thing was his caddie said he shoots it every time! And wait until you see his collection of green Mao jackets. Stunning. Man, I wish the U.S. and North Korea would establish diplomatic relations. Imagine the Kimster at Augusta, winning the green jacket every year. I'm sure the people running the place would love it, just like they did when I first won there.
DONALD TRUMP: Look up awesome in any dictionary and you'll see a picture of Kim Jong Un's hair. Right next to mine, of course.
KOBE BRYANT: If there's one thing I took away from my trip to the People's Republic of Korea is how great their national basketball team is going to be now that Kim has taken over as player-coach. I guarantee they'll not only qualify for the playoffs, but win an Olympic gold. These guys can absolutely ball, and every time Kim gets the rock in his hands no one can guard him. Actually, no one tries to guard him, for some reason.
MIKE PIAZZA: The thing that really struck me on my visit with Comrade Kim was how uplifting and inspirational he really is. The Worm was right, the people love him. They really do. I thought it was pretty cool getting my picture on the big scoreboard at Shea Stadium, but his picture is even bigger and it's everywhere! Guy looks buff, too, like he's on something, though we all know better. The best thing, though, was there were no nasty announcers like Vin Scully trying to drag him down and turn the people against him. Makes me wish I had played my whole career in North Korea, and not just because Roger Clemens has never been there. I wouldn't even need to learn karate to fight Clemens because I would have Comrade Kim there to help.
MIKE TYSON: And to think I always thought it was Don King who was godlike. Mr. Kim is the real knockout, and should be wearing all my belts. The best thing about going to Pyongyang? I did my one man show for one man.
RAY LEWIS: My teammates, my brothers, my friends. They're all believers in what's being done by the top guy in Pyongyang. How could they not be, when Kim Jong Un is ruling in all his glory? I'd take a bullet for the guy, and so would my teammates. We're together as one, true believers ready to win the big one for the Big Un. I can't believe the guy's only 28 or something and already the leader of the not-so-free world. And you'd be amazed what they're doing in sports medicine there. You think deer antler spray is good stuff? Wait until you try musk deer gland, now available in both powder and liquid forms. I'm telling you, it's like magic. What I can't understand is why all those North Korean soccer players were suspended for using the stuff. I got to play in the Super Bowl, didn't I?
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg