On January 7, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) Board of Directors held a conference call to discuss human rights and the upcoming basketball exhibition in North Korea to be led by Dennis Rodman this week. In a productive session, the NBRPA Board of Directors discussed the basketball exhibition, as well as conditions and policies in place under North Korea’s current leadership regime.
Directly supported by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), the NBRPA is a non-profit association comprised of former professional basketball players of the NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters, and WNBA. The NBRPA is a charitable, 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a two-pronged mission to assist its members in their transition from the playing court into life after the game, while also positively impacting communities and youth through basketball.
In fulfillment of this dual mission, the NBRPA has recently organized and conducted several goodwill events for communities in need – both in the United States and abroad. As part of this initiative, NBRPA Members have recently participated in community service events in Haiti and the Middle East internationally, as well as in American communities such as Sandy Hook, Conn., Moore, Okla. and the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
“While we support international goodwill and diplomacy in instances deemed appropriate by our Board of Directors, it is important to clarify that the trip to North Korea led by Dennis Rodman and others was not sanctioned by the NBRPA and is not supported by our organization in any way,” said NBRPA Chairman of the Board Otis Birdsong, a four-time NBA All-Star. “Under the right circumstances basketball can serve as a bridge to bring communities together, but these are not those circumstances. Standing alongside our partners at the NBA, we do not condone the basketball activities to be conducted in North Korea this week.”