Paddy Power sponsors and promotes Dennis Rodman’s North Korean basketball tournament

RodmanFormer NBA star Dennis Rodman has been spending a lot of time in North Korea lately and has somehow become good buddies with that nation’s odd and unstable leader Kim Jong-un. Rodman is apparently impressed with the country and has agreed to host a basketball tournament there in the capital city of Pyongyang. What Rodman does on his own time isn’t really anybody’s business, but he should be aware that North Korea is allegedly a repressive regime and resident are often jailed or even killed for criticizing the government and/or breaking laws.

However, Rodman said he’s hoping the basketball event will shed a different light on the country and somehow ease the tension between it and the rest of the globe. The tournament is set to take place next January and will be called the Paddy Power Dennis Rodman Invitational. As you may have already guessed, the event is going to be sponsored by well known Irish betting site Paddy Power. The feature game will pit North Korea’s national squad up against a team of all stars put together by Rodman. The plan also calls for a rematch between the two teams somewhere in Europe next June.

Rodman claims that the Korean leader loves the sport of basketball and is hoping he can build some understanding and trust with other nations by the way of cultural and sporting exchanges. The former player said he hopes his fellow Americans realize he’s just trying to help everybody in the world get along and that’s why he’s putting the event together. The International Crisis Group, which is aimed at solving conflicts, has backed the basketball games.

However, some people feel that North Korea’s human rights record shouldn’t be ignored for a basketball tournament. Amnesty International UK stated that people need to realize what is going on under Kim Jong-un in the country and his record of human rights violations, such as prison camps, starvation, forced labour and public executions. The organization added that it’s depressing that Rodman has been in contact with the leader on more occasions than foreign diplomats have over the past year.

Paddy Power is trying to help promote the basketball event and the controversy it will likely create could be seen as an ideal marketing tool. Then again, it could become so controversial that Rodman has a hard time convincing his buddies to play in the games. It’s going to give Paddy Power some free advertising no matter what happens and the company is eager to cash in on it, and who can blame them. Paddy Power doesn’t mind trying new angles to promote itself and these basketball contests could work out well for them.

September 11, 2013 - Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.