Updated: Saturday, 25th May 2019 @ 8:13am

Hoops not nukes: Manchester film crew brave North Korea for basketball match with Dennis Rodman

Hoops not nukes: Manchester film crew brave North Korea for basketball match with Dennis Rodman

By Richard O’Meara

A Manchester based production company were the sole film crew documenting a Basketball match arranged by the bizarre pairing of Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman.

Chief Productions flew to North Korean capital Pyongyang along with Rodman to catch the matchup between the DRPK’s national side and ex-NBA players.

The controversial ‘hoops not nukes’ match itself took place on January 8.

The film crew are currently travelling back from the state whose human rights record is considered one of the worst in the world.

Rodman himself remains in the country, hitting the slopes of a ski-resort with Kim who he described last year as ‘an awesome guy’.

The Media City based production company’s film aims to give viewers a fleeting glance into the regime with Rodman’s latest visit serving as the backdrop.

Foreign film crews are very rarely allowed access to the ultra-secretive state and are subject to round the clock monitoring by government officials.

Chief have in the past filmed music videos for the likes of Chvrches and The Courteeners and adverts for Audi and Aldi.

A million miles away from the influence of pop music and consumer culture Chief’s delegation saw a surreal opening to proceedings at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium.

Their cameras captured the moment that the 14,000 in attendance applauded Rodman’s rendition of Happy Birthday to ‘best friend’ Kim.


Kim, whose birthday or age has not been officially acknowledged by Korean officials, is believed to have turned 31 recently.

The film crew then saw Rodman’s squad which included former New York Knicks and Harlem Globetrotters stars trail to the Korean team 39-47 at half-time.

Rodman himself played for one quarter before retiring to the stands to watch the remainder of the game whilst chatting to Kim and smoking.

The second half saw the Americans and Koreans switch around their teams with the game ending 63-54.

Rodman’s relationship with North Korea and its despotic leader has been widely criticised.

This latest visit dubbed ‘Basketball diplomacy’ by Rodman drew the ire of NBA chairman David Stern who made it clear the league had no involvement in the controversial exhibition match.

US politicians already angered by the former NBA star’s relationship with the nation’s leader were further antagonised by comments he made this week about Kenneth Bae, an American hostage held in North Korea.

The former UK Celebrity Big Brother star defended the indefinite detention of Bae who was arrested for possessing a hardrive that contained pictures of starving North Korean orphans.

On the day before this week’s match in Korea Rodman apologised, claiming he was drunk when he made the inflammatory statement.

Kim recently made headlines for the public deposition and subsequent execution of his uncle, a former high ranking official.

Before travelling to the Korean Peninsula, Rodman said: “People say so many negative things about North Korea and I want people in the world to see it’s not that bad.

“I am not going to sit there and go ‘Hey guy, you are doing the wrong thing.’

“That is not the right way to do it. He is my friend first and I love him.”

Image courtesy of Sky News via YouTube, with thanks

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