Dennis Rodman, two months after traveling to North Korea for the second time to visit leader Kim Jong Un and conduct an exhibition basketball game, insisted in an interview with ESPN that his motives were pure and that he would not go back if that is what people wanted.
Rodman, speaking in a recent interview on camera with ESPN's Mark Schwarz, said he was only tying to "do great things in life."
"I wish they understood the whole purpose of why I went to North Korea," Rodman said. "I wish they did."
Sporting a black canvas-like fedora with black feathers in the back and a pair of large-lense, white-framed sunglasses with a nose ring in each nostril, another ring looped around his lower lip and at least one ring in his left ear, Rodman, also wrapped in several bright neck scarves, wondered: "What makes me so damn bad? What makes me this bad, awful person?"
"At least someone tried," Rodman said. "So that's how I look at it. You know, I don't want to be a hero, I don't want to be this, I don't want to be that. I just wanted to be, just do happy things and do great things in life. That's all I wanted to do. That's it."
Rodman spent three weeks in a New Jersey-based alcohol rehabilitation facility after he returned from his latest trip to North Korea in early January. He has said he did not enter the facility for alcoholism but that he simply "needed to decompress from all the things I was going through" and that he would return every six months "to see where I'm at."
"I don't want people to look at me as the devil or evil person," Rodman told ESPN. "If I put anyone in harm's way, I apologize, you know."
Then waving his hands in a circle at the camera, Rodman said, "If you don't want me to go back there ever again, I won't go back."
The 52-year-old Rodman, who won five championships with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls and was one of the NBA's fiercest rebounders and most colorful personalities, suffered an angry meltdown during a CNN interview upon his return. Some of the questioning regarded his singing "Happy Birthday" to Kim at the start of the game.
"I kissed his a-- by singing him 'Happy Birthday,' I kissed his a-- by doing this, by saying I liked the guy, I kissed his a--," Rodman said. "No I didn't."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.