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Basketball Diplomacy: Lunch with the North Korean Team

North Korea is pretty much shut off from the rest of the world but could the love for basketball hold the key towards change? After making basketball history by playing alongside the North Korean National Team, VICE corresponded, Ryan Duffy and the rest of the Harlem Globetrotters group goes to lunch with the entire North Korean team. From a simple after-play lunch, the group went on to discuss the highlights of the game and the team’s reaction by the surprise appearance of the Grand Marshall, Kim Jong Un.

Leading the group of emissary is Dennis Rodman, the 5-time NBA champion known for his electric personality and statement-making street style. Together with his fellow former NBA players, they went to Pyongyang to talk basketball with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

According to Charles Armstrong, a professor to Korean studies at the Columbia University, the strange meeting might not be the ideal way to approach toe hostile North Korean country “But if you pardon the expression, this is the only game in town.”

The 12-man team that hastily arranged by Rodman and accompanied Ryan Duffy included Kenny Anderson, Vin Baker, Craig Hodges and Charles D. Smith. Rodman has become quite controversial following his first trip to North Korea and seemingly developed a close relationship with dictator, North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong Un. The exhibition game with Rodman and other ex-NBA stars was a “present” by Rodman to the supreme leader on his birthday.

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