Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman is on his fourth trip to North Korea for a continuation of what he calls "basketball diplomacy."
Rodman's controversial trips to North Korea began with his first visit last February. On that trip, he told the Supreme Leader "you have a friend for life."
On this trip, Rodman is accompanied by former NBA players Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, Craig Hodges, Doug Christie, and Charles D. Smith. They are scheduled to play the North Korean Senior National Team on Wednesday, which is also North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's birthday.
As he made his way to North Korea, Rodman referred to the Supreme Leader as "an awesome guy" whom he hopes to "try and interact with" both because "He loves sports" and because the trip "is about showing people we can actually get along. Let's get along as human beings, not politicians." Rodman has insisted his visits are neither official nor political.
Rodman was last in North Korea in December for a basketball exhibition. His January visit comes nearly a month after Kim Jong Un had his uncle and former mentor executed for treason. Tensions between North Korea and the United States have been rising.
Korean-American Kenneth Bae remains in North Korean custody after being arrested in November 2012 for "hostile acts" and sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor. An American Korean War veteran was also detained for over a month prior to his December 2013 release.