The NBA draft is tonight and that got me thinking, is there anything that I do respect about the league? Only a few things almost made the cut. I liked Space Jam, but if they are going to make one with LeBron I am out, I have no desire to see him in anything. (One of my least favorite Ohio natives, putting him firmly in contention with Dahmer.) So Space Jam was right out, and the only other thing that the NBA has produced that even moves the needle a little bit are their global ambassadors. And no I am not talking about the Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, I am thinking of someone considerably more respectable than Aubrey Graham (aka drake), Dennis Rodman is the one that really comes to mind. Rodman has served as unofficial ambassador to North Korea and Kim Jong-Un. Kim, when he is not committing crimes against humanity and being an all-around detriment to mankind, is a huge basketball, and sports fan(not unlike Drake).
Under the last couple members of the Kim dynasty there has been an effort to increase the profile of sport in the isolated Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. (Also known as North Korea, not many people are fooled by the term ‘Democratic’ but it was worth a try) Kim Jong-Il famously put a considerable amount of his nations resources into an Olympic bid in the late 1980’s, leading to the construction of the world’s largest stadium, the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium. The DPRK states that it can hold 150,000, outside experts say closer to 114,000, but both are enough to be the world’s largest. (Frustrating for Michigan fans who only get to claim the second largest in the world at ~110,000, which is probably space for 250k starving North Koreans, or about 1,800 Michigan State cheerleaders).
About the time Jong-Il was failing to bring the Olympics home, the younger Kim was in Europe attending school, falling in love with basketball and especially the Chicago Bulls. So when the time came for an American to meet with Kim naturally it would’ve been one of those highly skilled diplomats. Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters payed a visit (after Jordan and others declined), to dunk on the North Korean team. It was never much of a contest as the zealous love for sports that the DPRK overlord has is only matched by his nation’s lack of ability. In the 2018 Winter Olympics the Korean Peninsula famously fielded a joint women’s ice hockey team. The South Korean team and coach were quick to voice their displeasure, not for political reasons, but simply because the North Koreans Sucked. Much like Kim Jong-Il's famous 18 hole golf round of 36, with 5 holes-in-one. (later revealed by inside sources to be 35 over par, with 5 bogeys)
Other than the elite in the isolated communist dictatorship, the facilities are not always available to play some sick hoops, so they are left to participate in something else in their free time. One fan favorite is the high stakes fast paced game of Jegichagi. A Historic and legendary game, rumored to have been developed in about 200BC by martial artists in Northern Korea and China. The game can be done alone, or with a team. It requires coordination, athleticism and discipline, making prowess at it a cause for much respect in Korean culture. The game involves using only the feet to keep a small item airborne for as many hits as possible. It’s hacky sack, only you use a rock wrapped in garbage. Yep that is how awesome sports are in the DPRK, something that in the US is played by hippies in parks is revered over there.
Basically the point here being that I can’t think about the NBA, or Drake, or Basketball in general without thinking about one of the most brutal Communist Dictatorships in history. So tonight while Knicks fans cry as Dolan drafts some unknown European player instead of the former consensus #1 RJ Barrett who is still on the board for their 3rd pick, just think about the fact that the sport of Basketball is something that brings us all closer to Kim Jong-Un.