Rodman heads North Korea 'basketball diplomacy'

GLOBETROTTING MISSION: Dennis Rodman at the ceremony inducting him to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
GLOBETROTTING MISSION: Dennis Rodman at the ceremony inducting him to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman is heading to North Korea - tattoos, piercings, bad-boy reputation and all.

The American known as "the worm" is due to arrive in Pyongyang today, becoming an unlikely ambassador at a time of heightened tensions between the US and North Korea. 

Rodman, three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a camera crew from VICE television are visiting North Korea for a news show set to air on HBO in April.

The trip comes two weeks after North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test in defiance of UN bans against atomic activity. Pyongyang said the test was directed at Washington. 

VICE said that the Americans hope to engage in a little "basketball diplomacy" with the North Koreans.

AP