Kim Jong Un wanted 'famous' basketball players to help U.S.-North Korea relations, report says

Kim, a diehard basketball fan, asked U.S. diplomats to bring around "famous" basketball players to help with denuclearization deal.

Kim Jong Un   -  (Getty Images)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has formally asked that the U.S. send "famous" basketball players to ease tensions between the two countries, ABC News reported, citing two U.S. officials.

While no specific players were named, North Korea sent the request in writing to U.S., asking that these players be used to help the countries in a possible denuclearization deal.

“While we did not reach an agreement with the DPRK [North Korea] at Hanoi, we exchanged detailed positions and narrowed the gap on a number of issues,” a State Department official told ABC News in a statement.

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Kim is an avid basketball fan and has said he loves playing the sport, his favorite team is the Bulls and that he likes wearing basketball sneakers. He's also befriended Dennis Rodman, one of the more polarizing players in the NBA during the 1990s. Rodman has visited the country multiple times.

It's not the first time North Korea requested famous players to meet with its leaders. Kim's father, Kim Jong II, asked Michael Jordan to meet with him in 2000, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson told ABC.

Jordan declined the invitation, but Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sent the North Koreans a basketball autographed by Jordan.

"He's very much like his father," Richardson said of Kim Jong Un. "He loves basketball and he loves cultural exchanges."

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