“I’ve always been a party animal,” Rodman said.
Bu he said this is a great time for him to reflect publicly and put his self at peace with a “lot of stuff that has been going on” over the past 18 months.
It was his first interview since entering a alcohol rehabilitation facility two weeks ago.
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.
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.