Last week both Eric Freeman and I discussed the provocative and slightly depressing trip Dennis Rodman made to North Korea, ostensibly to reach out in a goodwill gesture, but most assuredly to work the ego of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The head of state is a notorious hoops nerd, with a particular love for the 1990s Chicago Bulls – a love that this hoops nerd shares and is most definitely questioning as these stories leak out.
In a Washington Post feature from 2009, it was relayed that Kim Jong-un had a bedroom filled with 1990s NBA paraphernalia, including pictures taken with both Kobe Bryant and former Chicago Bull point forward Toni Kukoc – photos presumably snapped before any of the particulars were aware that Kim Jong-un was the son of the ruthless Kim John Il. On Monday, New York Magazine’s Dan Amira reached out to Kukoc to ask about the encounter, and Toni was quick to give the reporter an electronic pair of shrugged shoulders.
Read More »from Toni Kukoc, thankfully, does not recall the picture he took with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un
Nothing else is known about how Kim Jong Un came to meet Kukoc or Bryant. Asked via e-mail today if he could remember anything about the encounter, Kukoc, a Croatian-born small forward who helped the Bulls to three championships, enthusiastically told Daily Intelligencer, "No, not really, maybe it was McDonald's tournament in Paris! I don't recollect anything else!"