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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Dennis Rodman takes heat after bizarre interview defending North Korean trip

01.08.14 at 8:14 am ET

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NBA: Celtics at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Mavericks at Spurs, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Suns at Timberwolves, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Harvard at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Saint Joseph’s at UMass (CSNNE)
College basketball: Georgetown at Providence, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Villanova at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Virginia, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Kansas at Oklahoma, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Miami at North Carolina, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Texas at Oklahoma State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Nevada at UNLV, 9:15 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Boise State at San Diego State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Rangers at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)


Dennis Rodman attempted to defend his trip to North Korea with a group of former NBA players with a bizarre rant during an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

“It’s a great idea for the world,” Rodman said as the players, including former Celtics Kenny Anderson and Vin Baker, sat behind him.

When he was pressed about why he would get involved with a country that has long been criticized for its poor record on human rights, Rodman lashed out at interviewer Chris Cuomo.

“I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think,” Rodman said. “You are the guy behind the mic right now. ‘€¦ We are the guys who have to go back to America and take the abuse.”

As for controversial North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Rodman said: “I love my friend. This is my friend.”

Charles Smith, one of the former players on the tour, stepped in to help when Rodman got overly emotional.

“Outside of what people know of Dennis, you don’t know Dennis,” Smith said. “This guy’s got a great heart. His passion is about children and families. That’s why we’re here. We’re here because it’s about doing great will around the world.”

Meanwhile, the family of American Kenneth Bae, a tour operator who has been imprisoned in North Korea for over a year on vague accusations, is not happy with Rodman’s rambling insinuation that Bae did something wrong.

“He was in a position to do some good and to help advocate for Kenneth,” Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, told CNN. “He refused to do so. But then instead he has chosen to hurl these outrageous accusations against Kenneth. He clearly doesn’t know anything about Kenneth, about his case. And so we were appalled by that.”

Added Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: “I think Dennis Rodman crossed a line [Tuesday] morning by implying that Kenneth Bae might be guilty, by suggesting that there was a crime. There is no crime. Kenneth Bae is an American detainee that’s been there a year in bad health, who deserves to come home.”

— Knicks guard J.R. Smith just can’t seem to behave himself for any length of time. The controversial player made news over the weekend for reaching down and untying Mavericks forward Shawn Marion‘s sneaker while the two were awaiting Dirk Nowitzki‘s free throw.

Smith then showed questionable judgment in engaging with a critic on Twitter. After a woman tweeted him: u should get off twitter and go Practice on ur jump shots, Smith replied: U look like a man!

Smith reportedly was warned by the league about the shoe trick (“Yes and no,” Smith said Tuesday, “I’m not really supposed to talk about it, so I’ll leave it at that.”) and his coach was not pleased.

“He shouldn’t be doing stuff like that,” Mike Woodson said. “And I mean again, and I’m going to talk to him a little more about it when I get in [the locker room]. His focus should just be on playing basketball. That’s what it’s about, and those are things you just don’t do.”

However, Smith appeared to try his shoelace maneuver again in Tuesday’s win over the Pistons, but Greg Monroe moved his foot just in time. And apparently he got Dwight Howard during last Friday’s game against the Rockets.

A fan tweeted Smith after the game: I seen you untie Dwights show against the Rockets too! Haha didn’t you?

Replied Smith: Yea I do it every game!

— Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was the target of some teasing for a postgame interview he gave following the Seminoles’ victory over Auburn in Monday’s BCS national championship game. Winston didn’t have the best grammar in the interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi.

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron‘s mother, Dee Dee Bonner, tweeted “Am I listening to English,” but quickly deleted the comment.

On Tuesday, Winston tweeted a response to those who made fun of him. Wrote the QB: For all the people that criticize the way that I walk this is for y’all. The Florida state Seminoles are national champions! That is all.


ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 8, 1944, which Bruins forward was leading the NHL with 53 points in just 26 games when he injured his shoulder during a 12-3 loss to the Maple Leafs, causing him to miss all but 10 games the rest of the season — and finish with 71 points, two points short of the league’s single-season record?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Tonight’s just not good enough. It’s not good enough. We’re going to have to play really well to beat these teams on the road. Everybody’s going to have to play close to an ‘A’ game, and that’s everybody. Today was disappointing.” Celtics coach Brad Stevens, after Tuesday’s 129-98 loss to the Nuggets in Denver

STAT OF THE DAY: 18-0-2 — The Ducks’ home record this season after Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over the Bruins

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): LeBron James gives a woman in the front row a kiss on the cheek as she tries to take his picture during the Heat’s victory over the Pelicans on Tuesday night.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Elvis Presley was born on this day in 1935.

Read More: Charles Smith, Dennis Rodman, J.R. Smith, Jameis Winston