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01:29, Jul 28 2016
PYONGYANG, North Korea -- Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Thursday to meet leader Kim Jong Un and put the finishing touches on plans to bring 12 ex-NBA players to Pyongyang for a Jan. Antoine Vermette Jersey . 8 exhibition game marking the leaders birthday. Rodman said the game is on track despite the recent execution of Kims uncle in a dramatic political purge. Rodmans visit comes less than a week after North Korea announced the execution of Jang Song Thaek, an unprecedented fall from grace for one of the most powerful figures in the country. Jangs execution sparked speculation by foreign analysts over the future of the Kim regime. But officials in Pyongyang say Jangs removal has not caused any instability. Rodmans visit -- should it proceed uneventfully -- could be a sign that Kim is firmly in charge. Rodman told The Associated Press in a brief interview at his Pyongyang hotel that he was undaunted by the recent political events. "I cant control what they do with their government, I cant control what they say or how they do things here," he said. "Im just trying to come here as a sports figure and try to hope I can open the door for a lot of people in the country." Rodman and Kim have struck up an unlikely friendship since the Hall of Famer travelled to the secretive state for the first time in February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television. He remains the highest-profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power from his father, Kim Jong Il, in 2011. "Ive come over to see my friend, and people always give me a little hard time about me saying that," said Rodman, who was given the red carpet treatment at the airport by Vice Sports Minister Son Kwang Ho and O Hun Ryong, secretary-general of the North Korean Basketball Association. "Im very proud to say hes my friend, because he hasnt done anything to put a damper, to say any negative things about my country." Rodman has not yet announced the roster for the game. He is also expected to train North Korean basketball players during his several-day stay in Pyongyang and to meet with Kim, though he did not give any details about what his plans are. He said, however, that if after the 12 former NBA players go home they say "some really, really nice things, some really cool things about this country," then he has done his job. Known as much for his piercings, tattoos and bad behaviour as he was for basketball, Rodman has mostly avoided politics in his dealings with the North. Hes mainly focused on using basketball as a means of boosting understanding and communication and studiously avoided commenting on the Norths human rights record or its continued detainment of an American, Kenneth Bae, for allegedly committing anti-state crimes. "North Korea has given me the opportunity to bring these players and their families over here, so people can actually see, so these players can actually see, that this country is actually not as bad as people project it to be in the media," he said. Max Domi Coyotes Jersey .The list of nominees was reduced Thursday to 15 from the modern era, one senior and two contributors. A finalist must receive at least 80 per cent of the votes from the 46-person selection committee to be elected. Christian Fischer Coyotes Jersey . -- Canadas Andrew Wiggins scored 30 points, Wayne Selden Jr. http://www.officialcoyoteshockey.com/Max-Domi-Jersey/ . - From his perch atop Regan Smiths pit box, team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.(NLL) - The Buffalo Bandits signed John Tavares and eight other players to one-year contracts on Friday. "Im excited to be back for another season in Bandit Land," said Tavares. "After a disappointing season collectively and individually, I am looking forward to helping the team get back to the top of the league." In addition to Tavares, the Bandits also agreed to terms with Mike Hominuck, Jamie Rooney, Derek Hopcroft, Kurtis Wagar, Joel Matthews and Jordan Critch as well as 2013 draft picks Mitch Wilde and Nick Diachenko. Tavares enters 2014 as the all-time leading scorer in NLL history with a total of 1,666 points since joining the league in 1992. Last season, he appeared in 12 games and contributed 39 points. The Mississauga, Ontario native has played his entire career as a member of the Bandits. Hominuck returned to Buffalo for a second stint leading up to the 2013 season after previously spending two years (2004 and 2005) with the club. The Welland, Ontario native is coming off a 12-game season in which he tallied 21 points. Over his nine year NLL career to date, Hominuck has been credited with 311 points and 418 loose ball recoveries. Rooney appeared in three games in his inaugural season with the Bandits in 2013, registered seven points. Acquired from Toronto with Glen Bryan in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NLL Entry Draft, he has notched 124 points and 219 loose balls over 66 career NLL games. Hopcroft, acquired prior to the 2013 season from Colorado in exchange for a conditional fiftth-round pick in the 2014 NLL Draft, suited up in four contests last year for Buffalo and recorded 11 points. Brad Richardson Coyotes Jersey. . Over his 18-game NLL career to this date, the Toronto native has 40 points. Wagar just completed his first season with the Bandits after also being signed as a free agent prior to the 2013 campaign. He registered 333 minutes between the pipes in 2013, earning a 12.22 GAA to go along with a 2-6 record. He has seen 529 minutes of action as a goaltender and compiled a record of 3-7 as well as a 11.91 GAA. Matthews, Buffalos fourth-round choice in 2012, has yet to appear in a game for the Bandits after being registered as a Non-Roster Player for the Bandits during 2013 (Physically Unable to Perform – PUP). Prior to being drafted, he completed a 25-game career with the University of Detroit Mercy, where he notched 87 points. Critch, selected by the Bandits in the second-round of the 2012 draft (16th overall), appeared in five games for the club in 2013. Over this time, he recorded five points after enjoying an 81-game junior career, over which he compiled 146 points. Wilde, Buffalos second-round selection (15th overall) in the 2013 draft, spent the past four years playing with Robert Morris University. Over 26 career games with the Colonials, Wilde tallied nine points. Diachenko, chosen one pick before Wilde in the second round of this years draft (14th overall), recently completed his four-year career for the University of Delaware over which he contributed 75 points. 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