The 52-year-old angered many people in the United States with an
interview last week in which he implied that Kenneth Bae, a U.S.
missionary imprisoned by North Korea, was to blame for his
incarceration rather than authorities there.
Rodman, who calls himself a friend of North Korean dictator Kim Jong
Un, apologized for the comments made during his visit to North Korea
with a group of fellow U.S. basketball players.
Rodman was met by a throng of media as he made his way, flanked by
burly bodyguards, through the airport terminal to a waiting car.
"I want to tell people that no matter what's going on in the world,
for one day, just one day, not politics, not all this stuff," he
"I'm not the president, I'm not an ambassador, I'm Dennis Rodman,
just an individual, just showing the world a fact that we can
actually get along and be happy for one day."
He then appeared to be overcome with emotion and seemed to start
crying as he moved away from the media, repeating "I'm sorry".
Rodman expressed regret over the interview on Thursday in which he
implied Bae was to blame for his imprisonment, saying he had been
feeling emotional after drinking.
Bae, 45, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for state
subversion in North Korea, where he was detained in 2012 while
leading a tour group. North Korea's Supreme Court said he used his
tourism business to form groups aimed at overthrowing the
[to top of second column]
On Monday, Rodman expressed his thanks to "the Marshal", which is
Kim's official title, for enabling his visit.
"It's amazing that I had the opportunity just to go to North Korea,
and for the Marshal to give me an opportunity just to be in his
presence in the city," he said. "This is not a bad deal."
Rodman had staged a basketball match in the North Korean capital,
Pyongyang, to commemorate Kim's birthday, drawing the ire of human
rights activists. He also visited a ski resort in the isolated
Rodman led a chorus of North Koreans in a rendition of "Happy
Birthday" to Kim.
The fading basketball star's trips had previously been financed by
Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, although it has now withdrawn its
(Additional reporting by Joseph Campbell and Michael Martina)
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