During his fifth trip to North Korea, former pro-basketball player Dennis Rodman gifted North Korean leaders with President Trump‘s 1987 book, The Art of the Deal. The book famously details Trump’s negotiation tactics in business. According to the Washington Post, Rodman gave the book to North Korea Sports Minister Kim Il Guk with the intention of him giving it to President Kim Jong Un.
“All of you guys should be proud of yourselves, because, you know, a lot of people don’t give you guys credit, because this is such a small country, and not many people from North Korea can compete around the world,” Rodman said to the North Korean leader, according to the New York Post. “But for you guys to come back here in your country, with a medal, that says a lot about North Korea, because people don’t really take North Korea so seriously about sports or anything like that.”
“In the past, our respected supreme leader met you several times and he used his precious time to watch the basketball match with the players you brought here,” Guk said. “In the past he met you, so our people all know you well. And also we feel that you are an old friend.”
When asked Tuesday whether he had been in touch with Trump over his most recent visit, Rodman responded, “I am pretty sure that he is happy with the fact that I am over here trying to accomplish something that we both need.” In April, Trump said that he would be willing to meet with Kim “under the right circumstance.” He has also previously called the 33-year-old North Korean president a “pretty smart cookie.”
The NBA hall of famer is surprisingly close to both Kim and Trump. In addition to Rodman’s friendly relations with North Korea (Rodman has called Kim a “friend for life”), he has also had a long, public friendship with his former Celebrity Apprentice boss, tweeting that Trump “has been a great friend for many years.” The State Department has denied any involvement in Rodman’s personal trips to North Korea, per the Post.
On the recent trip, Rodman also brought North Korea a copy of Where’s Waldo? The Totally Essential Travel Collection, a mermaid puzzle, two sets of soap and two autographed jerseys as gifts.