Cliff Robinson on Rodman, Kim Jong-un
His trip to North Korea caused quite a stir. Cliff Robinson, a former Trail Blazer who spent seven years in the Rose City where he averaged 16.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, was one of eight former pro basketball players to make the controversial trip to the country earlier this month.
Led by Dennis Rodman, who has made several trips to North Korea in the past couple of years, the group's intention was to provide a "cultural exchange" among the parties, with the goal of "sharing ideas and thoughts on education, culture and life."
That was the intention. Though, it wasn't how it was interpreted.
In the coming days, the goal of playing basketball became an afterthought. An interview with CNN that led to an outburst from the leader of the group Dennis Rodman reverberated shockwaves across mass media and social networking streams, painting the trip in an even more negative light that forced fellow members of the group to apologize for Rodman's behavior. Rodman later apologized himself, indicating that he had been drinking.
It didn't become any easier when Rodman led the "Happy Birthday" cadence for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who has allowed more than 200,000 North Koreans, including children, to be imprisoned in camps where many perish from forced labor, inadequate food, and abuse by guards.
In a candid interview with CSN's Dwight Jaynes, who was named Co-Sportscaster of the Year for the state of Oregon, sat down with Robinson where they talked about why he chose to go to North Korea in the first place, his safety while in North Korea, his reaction to the infamous Dennis Rodman interview, and his encounter with the Kim Jong-un.