Dennis Rodman Gives DPRK Official Copy of Trump's Book 'The Art of the Deal'

By Bridget O'Donnell, June 15, 2017

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Dennis Rodman is in North Korea this week, sponsored by a bitcoin platform for the marijuana industry.

As part of his fifth trip to the secretive regime, the eccentric former NBA star and Hall-of-Famer arrived with several gifts in tow to hand out to DPRK officials.

Rodman, the iconic NBA star known just as widely for his on-court exploits as he is for befriending North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is currently visiting North Korea.

READ MORE: I Spent a Week with Dennis Rodman in North Korea

First up: a copy of US President Donald Trump's best-selling book The Art of the Deal, which was given to Sports Minister Kim Il Guk (though reportedly intended for Supereme Leader Kim Jong Un). The book was not signed by Trump.

The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump

The gift has been called a "genius move."

"That means that Kim — a man that Trump has already called a 'pretty smart cookie' — might be wise to Trump’s tactics if the two ever meet," explains the Washington Post's Anna Fifield.

But wait, there's more! Rodman also had a few other gifts to present, including a copy of Where’s Waldo? The Totally Essential Travel Collectiona mermaid puzzle, two sets of soap and two autographed jerseys, according to the Associated Press.

Where's Waldo

Rodman and his entourage visited local sights and met with the North Korean men's basketball team and Olympic athletes, including judo gold medalist An Kum Ae. 

During a meeting with the basketball team, Rodman was quoted as saying:

“All of you guys should be proud of yourselves, because, you know, a lot of people don’t give you guys credit, because this is such a small country, and not many people from North Korea can compete around the world,”

“But for you guys to come back here in your country, with a medal, that says a lot about North Korea, because people don’t really take North Korea so seriously about sports or anything like that.”

“In the past, our respected supreme leader met you several times and he used his precious time to watch the basketball match with the players you brought here. In the past he met you, so our people all know you well,” Kim Il Guk said in response to Rodman. “And also we feel that you are an old friend.”

It's not clear what the purpose of Rodman's trip is, and a senior US State Department official told CNN that he was not visiting "in any official capacity." Rodman has also said his visit has nothing to do with the White House.

Dennis Rodman
Rodman's trip is sponsored by PotCoin, a bitcoin service for the marijuana industry. Seriously. 

This isn't Rodman's first trip to North Korea — he's visited the country at least four times, with three of those trips taking place between 2013 and 2014. Rodman, who is one of just a handful of American citizens to meet the North Korean dictator, has claimed his trips are "basketball diplomacy." 

Dennis Rodman North Korea
Rodman and Kim during his last visit in 2014.

His most recent visit was in January 2014, when he brought along several former NBA players for an exhibition game as a birthday present for Kim. 

But the trip quickly turned into a bit of a debacle after Rodman's outburst during a live interview from Pyongyang with CNN. Rodman, who had defended the trip as "a great idea for the world," appeared outraged after a question about then-detained American citizen Kenneth Bae.

Rodman later apologized, saying he was "stressed out" and "had been drinking" around the time of the interview. He also told ESPN that he would "never go back" to North Korea and was sorry he ever went.

READ MORE: Dennis Rodman 'Never Going Back' to North Korea, Sorry He Ever Went

Before entering the political world, Donald Trump praised one of Rodman's trips as being "smart." 

Rodman appeared on his hit reality TV show, Celebrity Apprentice and endorsed The Donald for President back in 2015.

Rodman's visit comes during heightened tensions between North Korea and the US. Just last month, the DPRK claimed that US and South Korean intelligence agencies attempted to assassinate Kim Jong Un. Three American citizens are also currently being detained in North Korean prisons.

Just hours after Rodman's visit was announced, news broke that a fourth citizen — college student Otto Warmbier was released from the DPRK in a coma.

Otto Warmbier
US College student Otto Warmbier was detained in North Korea last year and just released to the US in a coma this week.

But the US State Department insisted that Warmbier's release was unrelated to Rodman's trip.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “Dennis Rodman did not have anything to do with the release of Otto Warmbier.”

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