Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters has been covered extensively. What hasn’t been covered, though, is what this means for the sport of basketball in North Korea, or, more specifically, what North Korea’s intentions with the sport of basketball may or may not be. Luckily, I’ve hacked this matrix of hoops and uncovered the awesome truth.
The smoking gun in this investigation was the uncovering of how the rules of the game, specifically the way games are scored, have been changed dramatically by the Kim family after it was brought to North Korea. Follow the source path from Deadspin, who got their information from Foreign Policy, who got their information from San Diego Union-Tribune, who described the North Korean basketball scoring system thus:
Chinese media report that North Korea has developed its own scoring system for the game: three points for a dunk, four points for a three pointer that doesn’t touch the rim, and eight points for a basket scored in the final three seconds. (This rule is … intriguing? The endings of North Korean basketball games must be cutthroat!) A missed free throw means minus-one point.
Shots worth more/less points depending on where and how they’re made? Strange, but not unheard of. Considering this, Rodman and the Globetrotters’ visit, and the recent trend of washed-up NBA players playing in Asian countries, you understand what’s happening, right?
North Korea is attempting to re-form MTV’s Rock N’ Jock basketball series.
If you don’t remember, Rock N’ Jock was the wacky precursor to the Celebrity All Star Game wherein musicians, athletes, and random celebrities played zany basketball featuring specific points on the floor where shots were worth more, a completely separate hoop players could shoot at, and other random insanity that apparently no one has bothered to compile into an official list or extensive Wikipedia entry. So disappointing.
Luckily, video does exist of actual Rock N’ Jock basketball. Enjoy this clip from the 1997 game:
Those were such carefree times, when the NBA’s brightest stars (I know you saw Gary Payton and Kevin Garnett in there) weren’t above doing something fun for the fans.
Yes, North Korea is a horrible place run by horrible people. But maybe their approach to basketball redeems them just a little bit? No? Yeah, you’re right. My fault.