Dennis Rodman, a former NBA player who has engaged in informal diplomacy with North Korea and Russia, said Sunday he plans to go to Russia to help imprisoned WNBA player Brittney Griner, according to NBC News.
“I got permission to go to Russia to help that girl,” Rodman said to NBC. “I’m trying to go this week.”
The flamboyant Basketball Hall of Famer, a veteran of five NBA championship teams, called Russian President Vladimir Putin “cool” in 2014. He has also visited North Korea multiple times, including for leader Kim Jong Un’s birthday.
“I know Putin too well,” Rodman said of his relationship with the Russian president, according to NBC.
Griner was sentenced to nine years in Russian prison earlier this month, after she was found guilty of possession and smuggling of cannabis oil. The Biden administration has put a proposal on the table to facilitate her release, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken — reportedly a high-stakes prisoner swap involving convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The State Department has a travel advisory discouraging Americans from visiting Russia.
President Joe Biden has called Griner’s imprisonment “unacceptable.”
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