Dennis Rodman Plans Russia Trip to Address Brittney Griner’s Imprisonment

It's not his first foray into diplomacy

Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman reacts after being introduced as part of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

For many retired star athletes, their second act in life involves coaching or commentary. A few might make the move into politics, while others venture into the world of business. And then there’s Dennis Rodman, who’s spent the last decade making occasional forays into what can best be described as DIY international diplomacy. Much of this has focused on Rodman’s multiple visits to North Korea, but now he has another destination in mind — Russia.

According to Rodman himself, he plans to travel to Russia to see what he can do about securing the release of Brittney Griner, who was recently sentenced to nine years in prison there.

NBC News’ Jonathan Allen has more details. In an interview, Rodman said that he planned to go this week. “I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” he told NBC News. Allen also heard from an official in the Biden administration, who expressed concern that Rodman heading to Russia might “complicate and hinder release efforts.”

Precisely how successful Rodman’s previous forays into diplomacy have been is a matter for discussion. Rodman himself has said that he had a role in getting detained student Otto Warmbier freed from imprisonment in North Korea in 2017. (Warmbier died shortly thereafter.)

The process of getting Griner released is already complex, and Rodman’s presence — assuming he does make the trip as planned — is one more variable to consider. Then again, no one said international diplomacy was going to be easy.

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