Dennis Rodman Sings 'Happy Birthday' to Kim Jong-Un

VIDEO: Dennis Rodman Organizes American B-Ball Game For North Korean Leader
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Dennis Rodman kicked off a controversial basketball game in North Korea by singing "Happy Birthday" to the reclusive country's dictator, whom the former NBA star has described as a "friend for life."

PHOTO: U.S. basketball player Doug Christie is handed a trophy as North Korean players applaud at the end of an exhibition basketball game at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Jan. 8, 2014.
Kim Kwang Hyon/AP Photo
PHOTO: U.S. basketball player Doug Christie is handed a trophy as North Korean players applaud at the end of an exhibition basketball game at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Jan. 8, 2014.

Rodman led a delegation of former professional basketball players to Pyongyang to play an exhibition basketball game in honor of supreme leader Kim Jong-un's birthday. Kim, the grandson of the communist country's founder, is believed to have turned 31.

PHOTO: Dennis Rodman tips his hat as U.S. and North Korean basketball players applaud at the end of an exhibition basketball game at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Jan. 8, 2014.
Kim Kwang Hyon/AP Photo
PHOTO: Dennis Rodman tips his hat as U.S. and North Korean basketball players applaud at the end of an exhibition basketball game at an indoor stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea on Jan. 8, 2014.

"A lot of people have expressed different views about me and your leader, your marshal, and I take that as a compliment," Rodman told the crowd. "Yes, he is a great leader, he provides for his people here in this country and thank God the people here love the marshal."

PHOTO: Dennis Rodman cheers after a fellow U.S. basketball player makes a jump shot during a practice session with North Korean players in Pyongyang, North Korea on Jan. 7, 2014.
Kim Kwang Hyon/AP Photo
PHOTO: Dennis Rodman cheers after a fellow U.S. basketball player makes a jump shot during a practice session with North Korean players in Pyongyang, North Korea on Jan. 7, 2014.

Rodman, the highest-profile American to meet Kim, insisted that the visit was a non-political bit of sports diplomacy meant to "open doors" between North Korea and the U.S., but the trip was roundly criticized by the U.S. Department of State and the NBA.

The North Koreans played the Americans head to head in the first half of the game and led the visitors 47 points to 39 at the half. In the second half, the teams were mixed between Korean and American players.

Rodman did not play in the second half of the game, and instead sat next to Kim.

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