Monday 29 December 2014

Former NBA player Charles Smith says he has "no regrets" about North Korea trip

The basketball player has known Dennis Rodman for over three years and says the pair have no "divisions"

Neela Debnath

Published 12/01/2014 | 20:27

BEIJING, CHINA - JANUARY 10:  (CHINA OUT) Former NBA basketball player Charles Smith is surrounded by journalists as he arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport from North Korea's Pyongyang on January 10, 2014 in Beijing, China. Dennis Rodman lead six former NBA players played a basketball game with North Korean basketball players on January 8 in Pyongyang, as a birthday present for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.  (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Former NBA basketball player Charles Smith is surrounded by journalists as he arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport from North Korea's Pyongyang. Dennis Rodman lead six former NBA players played a basketball game with North Korean basketball players on January 8 in Pyongyang, as a birthday present for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Former NBA basketball player Charles Smith is surrounded by journalists as he arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport from North Korea's Pyongyang. Dennis Rodman lead six former NBA players played a basketball game with North Korean basketball players on January 8 in Pyongyang, as a birthday present for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Dennis Rodman: Jong Un pal
Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un and Dennis Rodman watching a game
Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman (C) is surrounded by journalists
Matt Cooper arriving at the international airport in Pyongyang, North Korea
Kim Jongun, centre, next to his wife Ri Solju, left, talks to Dennis Rodman, while watching a basketball game between North Korean players and former NBA players in Pyongyang. KCNA

It seems that Dennis Rodman is not the only one who enjoyed his trip to North Korea, former NBA star Charles Smith says he has "no regrets whatsoever" about going to the hermit nation.

The NBA champ was returning from the secretive state after playing in a special exhibition basketball match when he was asked by reporters about the trip.

Smith said that he would like to discuss the "North Korean issues" live at some point, along with the country's "economic strategies" and "cultural experiences".

He was one of a number of former NBA players to have travelled to the nation for the game, other players included Kenny Anderson, Vin Baker, Cliff Robinson, Doug Christie and Craig Hodges. However, he refused to be drawn on further questions, saying: "You'll be hearing from me and the rest of us very soon."

The player did however touch upon his friendship with Dennis Rodman, who has courted controversy by his repeated visits to the country despite the well-documented evidence of human rights abuses.

Smith assured the media that he stood should to shoulder with Rodman: "He's a friend. We've known each other intimately for three-and-a-half years. We don't have divisions, that won't happen. No regrets about the trip whatsoever."

The exhibition basketball match against the North Korean team was held to mark leader Kim Jong-un's birthday. In one of the most bizarre moments of the trip, Dennis Rodman paid a Marilyn Monroe-style tribute to Kim Jong-un by singing "Happy Birthday".

(Independent.co.uk)

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