Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is praising President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's decision to meet in the coming months.
"Big respect to President Trump and Marshal Kim Jong Un for their historic meeting coming up," Rodman said in a statement issued to USA TODAY Sports on Friday through his agent, Darren Prince. "I said it back in 2014 on CNN that the door will open eventually."
When asked whether he would have interest in accompanying Trump on the trip, Rodman told USA TODAY Sports, again through his agent, that he would "love to" if he is asked.
A 14-year NBA veteran and five-time champion, Rodman has made headlines in recent years for his controversial friendship with Kim, whom he first met in 2013. The 56-year-old has made several trips to North Korea in the years since and, as recently as December, had urged Trump to let him travel to North Korea as a peace envoy.
"I’ve been trying to tell Donald since day one: 'Come talk to me, man,'" Rodman told The Guardian. "I'll tell you what the Marshal wants more than anything."
South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong told reporters in front of the White House on Thursday that Kim has claimed he is "committed to denuclearization" and would be willing to meet with Trump. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders subsequently said Trump would accept the invitation and meet the North Korean leader "at a place and time to be determined."
The meeting, if it occurs, would be the first face-to-face meeting between a U.S. president and North Korean leader.
In addition to his relationship with Kim, Rodman also has something of a history with Trump, appearing on his Celebrity Apprentice television show in 2009 and 2013. He previously told Agence France-Presse, an international news service, that Trump and Kim "are pretty much the same people."
Contributing: David Jackson, Gregory Korte, Jane Onyanga-Omara
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