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Monday, September 9, 2013, New York City: At a press conference in Manhattan, Dennis Rodman and Paddy Power, one of the world’s largest betting companies, announced the “Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational” – an international basketball event in which North Korea has agreed to participate and host.
Basketball Diplomacy – Tourney in January 2014: The goal of the Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational is to facilitate international diplomacy with North Korea. Dennis Rodman recently completed a three day visit to North Korea.
Rodman, who plans to return to North Korea in December, would like to bring together a team of former NBA athletes to compete against a North Korean team in North Korea, targeted to take place in January 2014.
Rodman plans to ask several former NBA players to participate. According to Rodman, Kim Jong-un offered the Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational full use of the main sports stadium which the Korean leader said would be filled to 95,000 capacity.
At the news conference, Paddy Power and Rodman mentioned that the Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational could be extended to other countries in the future.
Power and Rodman stressed that they feel sports is an effective international platform to bring people together from different countries with different ideologies.
Inspiration for Invitational Began with Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI: Paddy Power of Paddy Power notes: “It all began when the Pope resigned – the first time in 900 years. That took us to Rome where we met Dennis Rodman and he told us about his incredible idea for a basketball tournament involving the North Korean team.
Since then, in consultation with the International Crisis Group, a well-regarded NGO with an established track record in North Korea, the group has been working together to make the Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational a reality.
Rodman to Train North Korean Olympic Team: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un asked Dennis Rodman to train his country’s Olympic basketball team to prepare for the 2016 Games.