Kim Jong Un reportedly wanted "famous" basketball players sent to his country to help normalize the relationship between North Korea and the U.S.

By Jenna West
May 09, 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asked for the U.S. send "famous" basketball players to help normalize the relationship between the two countries, according to ABC News.

Kim made the request in writing as part of the cultural exchange between the two countries before the second summit with President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February. North Koreans also wanted their request to be included in the joint statement on denuclearization at one point, reports ABC News.

No deal was reached at the summit. Trump says talks ended because Kim wanted the U.S. to lift all sanctions on North Korea.

Kim, a diehard basketball fan, loves the Chicago Bulls and struck up a friendship with former Bulls forward and NBA champion Dennis Rodman. The North Korean leader invited Rodman to meet him in his nation's capital, Pyongyang, in 2013. Rodman even gave Kim a copy of Trump's book The Art of the Deal as a birthday gift in 2017.

Last summer, Rodman flew to Singapore for the first summit between Trump and Kim in June. He said he would "give whatever support is needed to my friends, President Trump and Marshall Kim Jong Un," despite the White House stating Rodman would play no official role in the diplomatic negotiations.

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