Dennis Rodman sings Monroe style Happy Birthday to Kim Jon Un

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Dennis Rodman has courted controversy and shades of the ridiculous ever since he first set foot on a basketball court. But the piercings, the tattoos, the high profile affairs and the all round bad boy image was but a mere hors d’oeuvre before the main course. His increasingly surreal relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

It had at one point looked like Rodman’s self appointed ambassadorial status may go some way to cracking the door of cultural understanding a little further ajar. But weeks after Kim executed his uncle for a list of charges that made Stalinist ‘courts’ look humdrum and understated, Dennis Rodman shimmered slinkily up to a microphone in Pyongyang and sang Happy Birthday to the dumpy little dictator in a throaty voice laden with all the sexuality of Marilyn Monroe oozing out the tune to President Kennedy.

The apparently impromptu performance came ahead of an exhibition basketball match to mark the foxy young Great Leader’s birthday.

"It started out as surreal, then people joined in and it sort of faded a bit, but it seemed pretty heartfelt from Rodman's side," said Simon Cockerell, a tour guide who watched the game in Pyongyang.

"It was unexpected, and probably unplanned," he said. "Kim Jong Un appeared to smile, but he didn't appear to expect it."

VIDEO: Dennis Rodman sings Happy Birthday to Kim Jong Un

Cockerell is the boss of Koroyo Tours who are clearly going for a very niche tourism market. He took a group of tourists to the game, and said the audience had stood and cheered Kim for up to six minutes when he appeared with his wife.

Rumours of a birthday lapdance by Rodman are thus far unconfirmed.

However, it wasn’t long before Rodman was apologising to the American media. He had apparently turned up drunk to a CNN interview, and when asked about the recent release of American ‘hostage’ Kenneth Bae, waved a cigar menacingly at the camera and said

"I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think. Kenneth Bae did one thing. If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country? 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."

The implication of course was that Bae had brought his fate on himself. Which is not an unreasonable point seeing as he had decided to go to the country in his twilight years knowing his welcome there would probably be less than effusive.

"I want to apologize," Dennis Rodman said. "I take full responsibility for my actions. It had been a very stressful day. Some of my teammates were leaving because of pressure from their families and business associates. My dreams of basketball diplomacy was quickly falling apart. I had been drinking. It's not an excuse but by the time the interview happened I was upset. I was overwhelmed. It's not an excuse, it's just the truth.

"I want to first apologize to Kenneth Bae's family. I want to apologize to my teammates and my management team. I also want to apologize to Chris Cuomo. I embarrassed a lot of people. I'm very sorry. At this point I should know better than to make political statements. I'm truly sorry.”

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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