BEIJING -- Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said Tuesday he was going on his second North Korea trip this year to have what he calls a friendly visit with the countrys authoritarian leader, Kim Jong Un. Bill Walton Jersey . The trip by the flamboyant basketballer comes days after North Korea rejected a visit by a U.S. envoy who had hoped to bring home an American missionary jailed there, Kenneth Bae. Speaking to reporters at the Beijing airport before leaving for Pyongyang, Rodman declined to say whether he would seek Baes release. "Im not going to talk about that," he said. "I just want to meet my friend Kim, the marshal, and start a basketball league over there," Rodman said. "I have not been promised anything. I am just going there as a friendly gesture." Bae was arrested in November and sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for what Pyongyang described as hostile acts against the state. Rodman once asked on his Twitter account for Kim to "do me a solid" and release Bae. Kim has the power to grant special pardons under the Norths constitution. Rodman first met Kim -- a die-hard basketball fan -- during a visit in February to promote the sport and make a film. U.S. officials frowned on the trip for giving the young leader a propaganda boost. In the weeks that followed, after U.N. sanctions imposed in early March over Pyongyangs February nuclear test, North Korea threatened Washington and Seoul with nuclear and missile strikes and shut down an inter-Korean factory in the North. Rodman, however, suggested "basketball diplomacy" could warm relations and said that Kim wanted President Barack Obama to pick up the phone and call him. He has called Kim an "awesome guy." Rodmans trip comes as the rival Koreas pursue diplomacy meant to restart several co-operative projects that were scrapped as tensions rose in recent years, including the jointly run factory complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong. While there is skepticism about Pyongyangs intentions, the warming ties have been welcomed in Seoul. Outside analysts have said Pyongyang is likely using Bae as bait to win diplomatic concessions in a standoff over its nuclear weapons program. North Korea denies this. Pyongyang accuses Bae of trying to establish an anti-Pyongyang base in the North. Friends say Bae was based in a Chinese border city and travelled frequently to North Korea both as a tour operator and to feed orphans. At least five other Americans have been detained in North Korea since 2009. The others were eventually allowed to leave without serving out their terms, some after clemency missions by prominent Americans, including former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Just this past weekend, a planned trip by Robert King, the U.S. envoy for North Korean human rights, fell through after Pyongyang said it couldnt forgive the inclusion of U.S. nuclear capable bombers in recently concluded U.S.-South Korean military drills. Talks aimed at getting the North to give up whats estimated to be a small cache of nuclear devices, and involving the Koreas, the United States, Japan, China and Russia, collapsed in early 2009. Pyongyang says its weapons are intended to protect itself from a hostile Washington. Damian Lillard Jersey . -- Michigan coach John Beilein is willing to give Nik Stauskas a little leeway when it comes to shot selection. Caleb Swanigan Jersey . And former Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson certainly knows his pain. "Its pretty hard to coach there without allowing some of these things to kind of affect you," Wilson told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun in his ESPN. https://www.blazerslockerroom.com/Anfernee-Simons-City-Edition-Jersey/ . 4 jersey of former defenseman Rob Blake this coming season. The ceremony will take place prior to the Kings January 17 game against Anaheim.London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - World No. 1 Rafael Nadal started slow again at Wimbledon but recovered to beat Mikhail Kukushkin on a rainy Saturday that has wreaked havoc with the schedule. With the Centre Court roof closed, Nadal lost a first set for the third time in as many matches at this grass-court Grand Slam. The second-seeded Spaniard and two-time Wimbledon champion, however, secured a spot in the fourth round by rallying for a 6-7 (4-7), 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 win. Nadal sent a backhand long, giving an opening set that featured no break points to Kukushkin, who had won only seven games in two previous matches against Nadal. The man from Kazakhstan erased the matchs first break point in the fourth game of the second set, but a long forehand gave Nadal a second break chance and he converted with a strong return on a second serve to go up 3-1. Nadal broke again with an incredible forehand winner and closed out the set with an ace. Kukushkin slipped during the opening game of the third set and wound up neetting a forehand to get broken again. Portland Trail Blazers Jerseys. After a strong service game by Nadal, Kukushkin finally managed to hold serve, ending a string of seven straight games won by Nadal. Nadal won 82 percent of the points on his first serve in the third set. Kukushkin had an opportunity to get back in the fourth set, but Nadal fought off two break points to go up 3-0. He ended the match with a forehand winner. Nadal will next play the winner of the match between wild cards Nick Kyrgios of Australia and Czech Jiri Vesely. Kukushkin fell to 1-14 all-time against Top 10 opponents. Seven-time Wimbledon winner Roger Federer cruised into the round of 16 with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 win over Colombian Santiago Giraldo on Centre Court. The fourth-seeded Federer served eight aces and converted 5-of-9 break points in the 81-minute match. The Swiss stars next opponent will be either 15th-seeded Pole Jerzy Janowicz or 23rd-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo. Rain suspended play on the outside courts for several hours. ' ' '