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Associated Press
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch a basketball game Thursday in Pyongyang.

Rodman, Kim Jong Un bond over basketball

– “You have a friend for life,” Dennis Rodman told North Korea’s Kim Jong Un on the third day of the ex-NBA star’s unlikely journey to Pyongyang, watching the Harlem Globetrotters with the leader and later dining on sushi and drinking with him at his palace.

Rodman sat side by side with Kim in a gymnasium with a crowd of thousands, chatting as they watched players from North Korea and the U.S. play, Alex Detrick, a spokesman for the New York-based VICE media company, told The Associated Press.

Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with three members of the Globetrotters, VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy and a production crew to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series.

Kim, a die-hard basketball fan, told the former Chicago Bulls star he hoped the visit would break the ice between the United States and North Korea, VICE founder Shane Smith said.

Kim and Rodman chatted in English, but Kim primarily spoke in Korean through a translator, Smith said after speaking to the VICE crew in Pyongyang.

“They bonded during the game,” Smith said by telephone from New York after speaking to the crew. “They were both enjoying the crazy shots, and the Harlem Globetrotters were putting on quite a show.”

“Dinner was an epic feast. Felt like about 10 courses in total,” Duffy said in an email to AP. “I’d say the winners were the smoked turkey and sushi, though we had the Pyongyang cold noodles earlier in the trip and that’s been the runaway favorite so far.”

Duffy said he invited Kim to visit the United States, a proposal met with hearty laughter from the North Korean leader.

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