Turns Out Dennis Rodman Had Nothing to Do With Otto Warmbier’s Release

Warmbier before his 2016 trial.

On Tuesday morning, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that American Otto Warmbier was on his way home from a North Korea prison, it was impossible not to notice that the surprise move came on the same day Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang.

Had Kim Jong Un, a ’90s basketball fanboy, traded a high-profile American prisoner for a chance to play NBA Jam with his boyhood hero?

No. Warmbier’s release was secured by Joseph Yun, a special envoy on North Korea who went to Pyongyang and insisted that the 22-year-old, who is reportedly in a coma, be released on “humanitarian grounds,” Reuters reports.

The process was set in motion after a meeting in New York last week, where North Korea’s ambassador to the U.N. told Yun about Warmbier’s medical condition. After several days to consult with President Trump and assemble a medical team, Tillerson had Yun and two doctors travel to North Korea to bring Warmbier home. On Monday, they arrived in Pyongyang and Tuesday Warmbier was on a plane back to Cincinnati.

Dennis Rodman Had Nothing to Do With Otto Warmbier’s Release