Just days back from joining Dennis Rodman on his controversial visit to North Korea, and birthday celebration of Kim Jong-un, retired basketball NBA star Kenny Anderson spoke about the trip during a live interview with Piers Morgan on Monday.
The former All-American at Georgia Tech, and a man who scored more than 10,000 points during a 15 year NBA career, was among the group of athletes that chose to join Rodman on his trip to the isolated nation ruled by its basketball-crazed tyrant.
Revealing that he hadn't done his due diligence prior to arriving on site, according to CNN, Anderson admitted to feeling compelled to go through with the charity game played in honor of the nation's supreme leader:
"I feared - you know, you fear what you don't know ... Like I said, I got the phone call, a few hours before the game. My wife was crying. She was like, 'don't play.' She was scared of my safety. So I had no choice. You know, when we got there, they took - you know, they take our passports away, you know? And I just - I had to finish what I got into," said Anderson. "I felt bad. I felt bad. I felt very bad that, you know, for my family, you know, for my close friends and Americans and people that [sic] looked up to Kenny Anderson."
Organized by Rodman, last week's expedition gained increased exposure following his outburst at the start of the trip. Anderson was just one of the former NBA stars who sat stone-faced behind Rodman while he went on his drunken rant supporting the brutal regime.
On Monday, seated across from Morgan, Anderson agreed that in hindsight he and his teammates were being made to appear as puppets. But while he regrets the experience, he candidly accepts his share of the blame:
"First of all, I'm 43 years old. I make my own decisions. And like I said, I keep going back to it — I was upset with myself," he told Piers Morgan. "I didn't think it was going to give me so much backlash."
During the broadcast, Anderson apologized for participating in the basketball game but refused to agree to give the money he was paid to charity.