Former NBA Player Brings Basketball Diplomacy in North Korea

November 6, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. interact [in-ter-AKT] (v.) – to act together or towards others
Example: The president interacts and mingles well with the foreign guests.

2. diplomacy [dih-PLOH-muh-see] (n.) – a negotiation between different nations
ExampleDiplomacy between countries can maintain peace and prevent war.

3. delegation [del-i-GEY-shuh n] (n.) – a group of representatives chosen for a specific purpose
Example: The delegation of American athletes arrived just in time for the opening of the Olympics.

4. controversial [kon-truh-VUR-shuh l] (adj.) – causing controversy or disagreement
Example: Many fans came to hate the controversial athlete.

5. exhibition [ek-suh-BISH-uh n] (n.) – an act of showing one’s athletic skills
Example: The exhibition game of the NBA Players has thrilled so many basketball enthusiasts.


Read the text below.
Former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Dennis Rodman revealed his close ties with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un at a press conference in New York last September. 

At the conference, the NBA star talked about his controversial visit to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, last February. He said that Kim even invited him to bring former NBA players to North Korea for an exhibition game with the country’s best players.  Kim also asked Rodman to train the North Korean Basketball delegation for the next Olympics.

Along with his previous offers, Kim said that he would also give anything that Rodman needs for the game as thousands of North Korean kids are looking forward to watching the NBA stars play.

Rodman said that he interacts with the North Korean leader as part of a ‘basketball diplomacy.’ With this, Rodman hopes to encourage peace by bridging the gap between North Korea and the United States.  

Although many people see Kim as a dictator, the NBA star considers him as a very good person. He added that Kim is only doing his job as North Korea’s leader.

With his close relationship with Kim Jong Un, Rodman acknowledges the fact that he may have an important role in improving the ties between the two conflicted countries in the future.

One issue involving both countries is America's request to release Kenneth Bae, an American who has been imprisoned in North Korea since November last year. When asked about this issue, Rodman stressed that Bae’s release is not part of his job.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think basketball is a good way to bring peace? Why do you think so?
·         What other positive changes can sports bring to people? Please explain briefly.

Discussion B

·         Aside from sports, what are the other ways to bridge the gap between two conflicting countries? Please explain.
·         In your opinion, what kind of person can be a country’s good diplomat for peace? Why?


November 6, 2013