Rodman sings to Kim 'like Monroe'
DENNIS Rodman singing Happy Birthday to North Korean regime chief Kim Jong Un was akin to Marilyn Monroe performing for then United States President John F. Kennedy, tourists who watched the performance said yesterday.
Rodman, formerly of the Chicago Bulls, sang the tune to Mr Kim on Wednesday before joining fellow players for a game marking the reclusive leader's birthday, which has sparked huge controversy in the US.
"It was a little Marilyn Monroe to JFK, the tone of it," American Sophia Sokmensuer, who was in the audience in Pyongyang, told reporters at Beijing airport.
Rodman gestured to the crowd and appeared to bow to Mr Kim, as a team of blue-clad retired NBA teammates and North Korean players clapped along.
Mr Sean Agnew, a club owner from Philadelphia, described Rodman's song as "weird".
"He just sort of did it off the cuff, and it was, you know, obviously awkward," Mr Agnew said.
The former NBA star also apologised yesterday for his televised outburst about a US missionary detained in North Korea, explaining that he had been stressed and drinking at the time.
In his statement, Rodman said the day of the interview had been "very stressful".
"Some of my teammates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates," he said, adding that his dream of "basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart".