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Basket Case

Kim Jong Il: North Korean leader. Totalitarian despot. Ruthless dictator. Fanatic NBA fan.

 

By most accounts, Kim is a totalitarian despot who is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons to gain diplomatic leverage against the rest of the planet and who may or may not sell that technology to raise cash for his impoverished nation. But he also is an avid basketball fan, experts on North Korea say, so much so that he is said to have regulation courts at most of his palaces plus a video library of practically every game Michael Jordan ever played for the Bulls.

 

While the rest of the world frets over what Kim might do with his nukes, Kim is sitting in his den, watching pirated satellite television signals from the United States and wondering if Shaquille O’Neal’s new shooting technique will improve his woeful free-throw percentage, or if Phil Jackson can get it going again with the Lakers. The NBA season, after all, opens Tuesday night in Miami and Los Angeles.

 

Kim, 64, is famously nocturnal, often working through the night to run his country, wedged between South Korea and China. Perfect. In North Korea, which is on the other side of the international date line, the games come on in the late morning.

 

‚ÄúKim doesn’t want to die,‚Äù Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said a few years ago after one of Kim’s missile tests sent waves of fear across the globe. ‚ÄúHe wants to watch NBA basketball.‚Äù

 

Adds Tony Ronzone, director of basketball operations for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, who has made three trips to North Korea to conduct coaching clinics: ‚ÄúHe’s a huge fan. He’s addicted to it.‚Äù

How typical. Yet another example of someone who spews hatred against the US and the West, but is more than willing to benefit from our way of life.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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