Former NBA player Dennis Rodman has a storied history when it comes to endorsements. Back in his heyday, he was the face of the Reebok Pump. The products he shilled after that were a good illustration of his decline in prestige. There was Foot Action, Carl’s Jr., and of course pistachios. Endorsements aren’t a one-way street with the ex-Chicago Bull either. Last year Rodman endorsed Donald Trump for president and shows continued support of dictator and war criminal Kim Jong-un.
But now the endorsement circle of life has come back around to the former power forward. PotCoin, the digital marijuana currency company, has financially backed Rodman’s recent trip to visit Supreme Leader Kim over in Pyongyang, as reported by CNN. Now what exactly happened there? Why would a company want to associate itself with a known madman and a nation that the U.S. is flirting with going to war with?
Are there political reasons? Is it possible that Rodman and PotCoin were doing the secret bidding of the CIA? After all, it was only hours after Rodman’s arrival that American student Otto Warmbier was released, 17 months after he was first incarcerated for stealing a propaganda poster.
According to the former athlete, neither Warmbier nor the other three Americans in North Korean custody factored in his visit to the country. “Well that’s not my purpose right now,” Rodman said. “My purpose is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea.”
So, what does PotCoin get out of it? Could North Korea’s strong ties to marijuana culture fit into it? The communist nation is serious about its commitment to weed, both for recreation and for fuel. North Korea does not even consider marijuana to be a drug, and citizens are allowed to openly grow weed in their garden or smoke joints in public. The government even made a recent agricultural shift toward producing more marijuana, with the suspicion that the idea is to produce hemp fuel for military drones, for real.
Or maybe it’s all just as simple as advertising. Carl’s Jr. payed Dennis Rodman to eat a cheeseburger on TV back when Rodman was one of the most famous athletes in the world. But now he’s not so famous and not all that many people point cameras at him, making him less valuable to advertisers. Unless, of course, he makes those headlines by visiting his pal, the tyrannical murderer Kim Jong-un.
On Rodman’s trip of a couple of weeks ago, he (and his posse) donned PotCoin T-shirts and tweeted about the cannabis company as they embarked on their trip. That alone might be worth the price to fly a has-been celebrity around the world and back. They got us to write about them at least.