Former NBA star Rodman sees North Korean breakthrough on the horizon

National Basketball Association Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman believes North Korea’s Kim Jong Un will soon make history by being the first leader of the hermit kingdom to visit the United States.

Speaking with David Asman on the FOX Business' “Varney & Co.,” the former Detroit Pistons forward great explained, “I’ve said it for like seven years -- one day, the doors are going to open with North Korea and America. I think it’s going to happen. In the next 18 to 24 months, you’ll see Kim Jong Un in Washington, DC.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) watches a basketball game between former U.S. NBA basketball players and North Korean players of the Hwaebul team of the DPRK with Dennis Rodman (R) at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium in this undated photo released by

For many years, Rodman has been sort of a private citizen diplomat, reaching out to North Korea and Kim in an effort to open relations with the U.S. that have been virtually non-existent ever since the Korean War in the early 1950s.

Rodman credits President Trump for breaking the ice by agreeing to a summit with Kim in June of last year.

“When Donald Trump went to Singapore ... I was watching them from the rooftop,” Rodman said. “And I just couldn’t believe he said something that was profound. He said, ‘I can tell if I like this guy in 30 seconds.’”

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20: Dennis Rodman speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 20, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Politicon)

Rodman, also known as “The Worm,” said shortly after that moment, Trump justified all that he’s been doing to try to bridge the gap between the countries, something for which he’s faced heavy criticism.

“It took him five-and-a-half hours to tell the world, ‘I can work with this guy. I like this guy,’” Rodman said. “Donald Trump saying this!"

"And I’ve been telling the world [Kim] is not a bad guy. He just inherited this country and he’s just trying to change and people don’t know that.”

- Dennis Rodman, former NBA star

Rodman began his own relationship with Kim some 16 years ago when he visited the capital, Pyongyang, to watch an exhibition basketball game featuring the Harlem Globetrotters in an event touted as “basketball diplomacy.” After that, Rodman praised Kim and suggested then-President Obama call the young leader.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C), his wife Ri Sol-Ju (L) and former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman clap during an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang in this undated picture released by North Korea's KCNA news agency on March 1, 2013. KCN

But it wasn’t until Trump took office real discussions began and the Singapore summit -- and one later in Hanoi, Vietnam -- took place. The two leaders have also met at the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas. On Monday, Trump suggested Kim would love to visit the U.S., and Rodman agrees.


“He is really open ... to coming to America,” Rodman said. “He really wants to come to America, but I think because of his history and his culture and his family, I think that’s what’s stopping him from coming here, to have relationships with Americans.”