Dennis Rodman will help celebrate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's birthday with an exhibition basketball game on Jan. 8.
According to the Associated Press (via USA Today), the Hall of Fame forward has named a team of ex-NBA players for the contest. Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, Craig Hodges, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith represent the squad that will face a North Korean team in what Rodman calls "basketball diplomacy."
Smith was one of the players most excited about the opportunity, saying:
Dennis and I are total opposites but we work very well together. Dennis is one of the few people I know that doesn't just talk but actually lives a culturally diverse life. We have traveled everywhere together so I was not surprised with his first visit to North Korea.
Cultural exchange is about sharing. Sharing ideas and thoughts on education, culture and life.
Although all of these players are past their prime, this group represents a lot of talent.
Anderson and Robinson were each named to All-Star games early in their careers that lasted over a decade. Anderson averaged 12.6 points per game while spending time with eight different teams, while Robinson averaged double figures in 14 straight seasons.
Baker was even better in the late 1990s and made four different All-Star games. He was named second-team All-NBA in 1997.
Hodges, Smith and Christie each had plenty of success as well over the same time period.
Of course, Rodman remains the most well-known player of the bunch. The Worm is one of the best rebounders in NBA history, although he is just as much known for his off-the-court antics. Now he has become somewhat of an American ambassador to North Korea after making multiple trips back and forth.
Regardless of what happens in the exhibition game, Rodman will likely continue what is one of the stranger friendships in the world today.
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