Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has checked into an alcohol-rehabilitation center after his disastrous trip to North Korea. Rodman's agent Darren Prince gave a written statement Saturday in which he says Dennis came back from North Korea in, "pretty rough shape emotionally", adding that the pressure the basketballer felt to be a political figure fueled his fire to drink.
Prince's statement also said Dennis is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the hurt and anger his words have caused, according to CNN on Jan. 19
Rodman checked into a facility in New Jersey with a month-long program. Prince said Dennis drank heavily in North Korea where he traveled to play a basketball game with some former NBA stars against national team players from the secretive regime.
"His drinking escalated to a level that none of us had seen before", Prince said Saturday. Dennis was also there to celebrate dictator Kim Jong Un's birthday.
Rodman entered the rehab facility on Wednesday, a source said. Dennis blames his alcohol abuse for his inflamatory words to CNN's Chris Cuomo, in which he said that an American imprisoned in North Korea since 2012 may have done something to deserve his sentence of 15 years' hard labor.
Kenneth Bae's family criticized Dennis for his comments, which later prompted him to apologize, saying he was under stress and had been drinking before the "New Day" interview.
Some commentators have hailed Rodman's "basketball diplomacy" to be a positive thing by showing the North Korean people a different view of the West, as opposed to the "demonic portrayal" over the country's tightly controlled state media.
But others that include human rights activists, call Rodman's actions an embarrassing media sideshow that distracts attention from North Korea's brutal regime.
A State Department official labeled Rodman's visit as "marginally unhelpful", and Sen. John McCain went further saying of the retired athlete, "I think he's an idiot".
In one of the more bizarre moments from the trip, 52-year-old Rodman sang "Happy Birthday" to Kim Jong Un in a packed stadium, before leading a team of former NBA players in a game which he called a birthday present to the reclusive dictator.
Rodman was swiftly criticized upon leaving North Korea for his friendship with Kim. He even broke down in tears in front of a mass of reporters who met him at the Bejing airport.
"I'm not the president" Dennis exclaimed, adding, "I'm not an ambassador. I'm Dennis Rodman". He also expressed sorrow for certain situations in the country, be stopped short of apologizing for his visit.
Kim Jong Un was known to be an avid basketball fan while attending private school in Switzerland as a teenager .