Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman on Wednesday offered to become the NBA’s ambassador for China amid the NBA’s row with the country over a general manager’s tweet about Hong Kong.
Rodman posted a video to his Twitter account. He is seen holding up a photo of himself with North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un and a separate photo of himself with President Trump.
While wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, Rodman says: “Commissioner Adam Silver, I know a thing or two about diplomacy. Book me a ticket to Shanghai with you. Ambassador Rodman."
The former Chicago Bulls star has had a hand in "basketball diplomacy" in the past. He visited North Korea as a private citizen in 2013. He also set up a controversial basketball game in the Hermit Kingdom with former NBA players in 2014. He has been the loudest supporter of normalized ties between the U.S. and North Korea.
Silver has attempted to dampen the firestorm in China over a tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, which read: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”
Silver said in a statement Tuesday the league “will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues.”
“It is inevitable that people around the world – including from America and China – will have different viewpoints over different issues,” Silver said in the statement. “It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences.”
Silver added: “This is about far more than growing our business...Values of equality, respect and freedom of expression have long defined the NBA -- and will continue to do so. As an American-based basketball league operating globally, among our greatest contributions are these values of the game.”
However, China has already canceled two NBA Cares events and the league has postponed a media availability with the players.
It’s unclear whether the game will still take place this week.