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Rodman speaks out from rehab

Rodman speaks out from rehab
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Friday, January 31, 2014 - 10:36am

(CNN) -- [Breaking News Update 8:43 a.m. ET]

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said Friday he didn't mean to insinuate during an earlier interview this month that he knew why Korean-American Kenneth Bae was being held in North Korea. "To this day I still don't know what he did," Rodman told CNN's Chris Cuomo.

[Breaking News Update 8:43 a.m. ET]

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman talked Friday about why he hasn't taken the issue of imprisoned Korean-American Kenneth Bae head-on in North Korea. "I'm not an ambassador, and I tried to strive and tell people, just because I know the marshal (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un), that doesn't mean I know the marshal like that."

[Breaking News Update 8:43 a.m. ET]

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Friday that he regrets being an "awful dad" so far, but hopes to be a better father to his children. He said he feels like he's just recently been growing up in the last five years. "I will be a father one day. Things don't happen overnight," he said.

[Breaking News Update 8:43 a.m. ET]

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman on Friday said this to CNN's Chris Cuomo about his trips to North Korea: "I keep telling people, I'm not there to be an ambassador to try to figure out why are you (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) doing all these things? That's not my job."

[Breaking News Update 8:43 a.m. ET]

During an interview, former NBA star Dennis Rodman on Friday invited CNN's Chris Cuomo to go to North Korea with him and meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Rodman and Cuomo had been sparring over whether Rodman should be calling Kim a "nice guy." Rodman said Cuomo should meet Kim to judge for himself. Cuomo said he'd take the invitation.

[Original Story, Published 8:26 a.m.]

(CNN) -- Dennis Rodman is at a rehabilitation clinic and speaking out because he wants to be better understood, he told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" on Friday.

"I've always been a party animal," Rodman said.

But he said this is a great time for him to reflect publicly and put himself at peace with a "lot of stuff that has been going on" over the past 18 months.

It was his first interview since entering an alcohol rehabilitation facility two weeks ago.

"I think for me, the reason I drink is because I'm bored," he said.

"Am I an alcoholic? Absolutely," Rodman said.

Asked whether he was drunk during their first interview when Rodman was in North Korea earlier this month, he said he drank with his teammates beforehand, but declined to say whether he was drunk.

"It wasn't about me being in the right mind," he said.

This month, the colorful basketball Hall of Famer, who won five NBA titles while with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls, organized a team of former professional basketball stars to go to North Korea for a game that was played on leader Kim Jong Un's birthday.

The players were scrutinized for traveling to the secretive state, a nation criticized for human rights abuses. North Korea also has pursued a nuclear program, much to the United States' distress.

Rodman on Friday said that he was not in North Korea to be an ambassador, but to try to bring two countries together through sport.

"I'm not a traitor," Rodman said. "My whole goal is to make people happy."

During the live interview, the former professional basketball player extended an invitation to take Cuomo to North Korea to meet its leader.

Fellow player Charles Smith defended the visit as a mission of basketball diplomacy, where sportsmen would share cultural ideas with each other.

While there -- in what was his fourth trip to North Korea -- Rodman spoke to Cuomo. The interview got interesting when the sunglasses-wearing Rodman began yelling at the CNN anchor while defending the team's visit.

"You know, you've got 10 guys here, 10 guys here, that have left their families, they've left their damn families, to help this country in a sports venture. That's 10 guys, all these guys here, do anyone understand that?"

"We do," responded Cuomo. "And we appreciate that and we wish them well with cultural exchange."

"No, no, no, no," Rodman continued. "I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. I'm saying to you, look at these guys here, look at them ... they dared to do one thing, they came here."

And Rodman also implied that Korean-American Kenneth Bae, held prisoner for 15 months by the regime, was guilty of a crime, but he did not specify what offense.

"Do you understand what he did in this country?" Rodman asked Cuomo, who tried to interject. "No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why?"

"I would love to speak on this," Rodman said, before abruptly switching topic to talk about how his fellow basketball players had left their families behind to come to North Korea for the exhibition game.

Bae, of Lynwood, Washington, was arrested in November 2012 in Rason, along North Korea's northeastern coast. The devout Christian and father of three operated a China-based company specializing in tours of North Korea, according to his family and freekennow.com, a website that friends set up to promote his release.

Rodman later apologized for his remarks about Bae. And his longtime agent, Darren Prince, said his client had fallen victim to stress and drinking.

"He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused," Prince said in announcing that Rodman was in rehab.
 

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