Dennis Rodman says he was "absolutely" drunk in his fiery, finger-pointing interview from North Korea earlier this month, but does not regret his trip to visit the man he calls his "friend": the country's infamous leader, Kim Jong Un.
"I don't know him as a dictator," Rodman told CNN's Chris Cuomo Friday in an interview from a rehab facility where the former NBA star is being treated for alcoholism. "I know him as a 31-year-old guy, I call him 'kid' all the time because he's my friend."
Kim, Rodman said, "gave me the opportunity to bring a basketball team over there to show the world we can get along."
"I'm not a diplomatic. That's not my job," Rodman continued. "I'm not there to be an ambassador to figure out 'Why are you doing all these things?'"
Rodman said he and the other players he was traveling with were drinking wine and sake at their hotel after practice.
"I've always been a party animal," the 52-year-old said.
Rodman also offered to trade places with Bae.
"I would do anything ... if they said, 'We'll take Dennis Rodman and we'll let Kenneth Bae go', you know what? I'd do that, straight ahead. Take me. I would do that."
Rodman's comments came a day after North Korean officials said they would not release Kenneth Bae, the American missionary currently serving the second year of a 15-year sentence for alleged crimes against North Korea. Bae was leading a tour group in 2012 when he was arrested.
On Thursday, North Korea's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hyun Hak-bong, told Sky News that Bae would not be pardoned.
"I cannot interfere into the legal system," Hyun said. "When the judgement is done, then it is done."
Earlier this month, Rodman lashed out at critics of the trip during an interview with Cuomo.
"It's all about the game," he said. "People love to do one thing. This is what we are trying to do."
Referring to Kim, Rodman said, "I love my friend. This is my friend."
But when Cuomo pressed Rodman on the issue of Bae's detention, the ex-baller blew up.
"I don't give a rat's a-- what the hell you think," Rodman said. "You are the guy behind the mic right now ... we are the guys who have to go back to America and take the abuse."
Rodman appeared to suggest he knew what Bae is being held for, but would not reveal the charge.
"Kenneth Bae did one thing, if you understand — if you understand what Kenneth Bae did, do you understand what he did in this country?" Rodman asked.
"What did he do?" Cuomo responded.
"No, no, no, no! You tell me! You tell me!" Rodman shouted, pointing his finger at the camera. "Why is he held captive?"
On Friday, Rodman told Cuomo he plans to hold an open press conference in New York where he will answer all of his critics' questions about North Korea and his relationship with Kim.
- Dennis Rodman
- North Korea
- Chris Cuomo
- Kenneth Bae