Circus: Former basketball star Dennis Rodman arrives in Pyongyang. Photo: Reuters
A group of retired NBA players has denounced Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea, saying the game he is organising there will not bring cultures together.
Rodman is a former NBA superstar known more for his tattoos, body piercings, dyed hair and over-the-top lifestyle as his on-court feats.
He has assembled a team of former NBA players for an exhibition game in Pyongyang on Wednesday against North Korea to mark leader Kim Jong-Un's 31st birthday.
"Under the right circumstances basketball can serve as a bridge to bring communities together, but these are not those circumstances," said Otis Birdsong, a four-time NBA All-Star and chairman of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, on Tuesday.
"Standing alongside our partners at the NBA, we do not condone the basketball activities to be conducted in North Korea this week."
Rodman made his first of four visits to the Communist state last February and calls Kim, reportedly a NBA fan of Rodman's championship days with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, a friend for life.
Rodman, nicknamed "The Worm", has dated singer Madonna and was once married to actress Carmen Electra.
Among the former players who joined Rodman for the game in North Korea are Kenny Anderson, Vin Baker, Cliff Robinson, Doug Christie, Craig Hodges and Charles Smith.
"While we support international goodwill and diplomacy in instances deemed appropriate by our board of directors, it is important to clarify that the trip to North Korea led by Dennis Rodman and others was not sanctioned by the NBRPA and is not supported by our organisation in any way," Birdsong said.