Dennis Rodman’s attempt at "basketball diplomacy" in North Korea isn’t starting off so hot. In fact, he can’t even get along with American CNN personality Chris Cuomo.
In a bizarre, awkward interview on CNN’s "New Day," the former NBA star — who has traveled to North Korea with a group of other former players for an exhibition game — lashed out at Cuomo when the host pressed him on political topics.
Specifically, Cuomo raised the issue of US citizen Kenneth Bae, who has been detained in North Korea "for reasons that are unclear," CNN reports.
Rodman — brandishing a cigar and sporting a blue scarf and gray Red Sox cap — bristled at the subject, asked Cuomo whether he understood "what Kenneth Bae did" … and then the interview pretty much spiraled completely out of control.
The players who traveled with Rodman appear to be visibly uncomfortable during Rodman’s outburst, with Charles Smith even interjecting and attempting to get the conversation back on track — but to no avail.
Smith told The AP that he’s saddened that their controversial trip to the isolated country has been "dwarfed" by outside issues.
"What we are doing is positive, but it is getting dwarfed by the other circumstances around it," Smith told The Associated Press. "Apparently our message is not being conveyed properly due to the circumstances that are much bigger than us, and I think that has to do with politics and government."
Smith defended Rodman, but also indicated that some of Rodman’s statements have "tainted our efforts."
"Dennis is a great guy, but how he articulates what goes on — he gets emotional and he says things that he’ll apologize for later," Smith told the AP.
When it comes to apologies, Rodman may want to start with the White House. CNN reports that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is "not going to dignify that outburst with a response."