PYONGYANG, North Korea - Former NBA star Dennis Rodman landed Tuesday in North Korea for what he called a trip to hang out with authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un, have a good time and bridge some cultural gaps — but not to be a diplomat.

The trip by the flamboyant basketballer — his second to North Korea — comes days after Pyongyang rejected a visit by a U.S. envoy who had hoped to bring home an American missionary jailed there, Kenneth Bae. Speaking to reporters ahead of his flight to Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrives at the departure hall of Beijing International Capital Airport in Beijing Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013. Rodman is heading to North Korea for the second time this year for what he says is a friendly visit to his friend, the communist nation's leader, Kim Jong Un. (AP Photo/Andy Wong), Rodman declined to say whether he would seek Bae's release. "I'm 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 or something like that," said Rodman, wearing rings through his lower lip and each nostril. "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 North's constitution.

"I'm not there to be a diplomat. I'm there to go there and just have a good time, sit with (Kim) and his family, and that's pretty much it," Rodman said, adding that he planned to see Kim "pretty soon," perhaps later Tuesday or Wednesday.

When asked if he was bringing any of his own brand of vodka to North Korea, Rodman chuckled and said no.

"They love whiskey. They love tequila. They love vodka, stuff like this, so, hopefully we'll go to have a nice dinner, sit there and talk," said Rodman, whose green-dyed hair was showing from beneath a black baseball cap.

"I'm just going over there to have a good time and try to bridge the gap with Americans and North Koreans. Just let's let people see in America that it's not a bad thing to go to North Korea and have a good time and meet new people."

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 Pyongyang's 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."

Rodman's 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 Pyongyang's 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 couldn't 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 what's 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.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series. (AP Photo/VICE Media, Jason Mojica)

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series. (AP Photo/VICE Media, Jason Mojica)

  • North Korea Rodman

    VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy looks up into the crowd where North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman watch North Korean and U.S. players in an exhibition basketball game at an arena in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Rodman arrived in Pyongyang on Monday with Duffy, three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a production crew to shoot an episode on North Korea for a new weekly HBO series. (AP Photo/VICE Media, Jason Mojica)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, right, and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, seen at back, prepare to check in at the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Rodman, three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, a VICE correspondent and a production crew from the company are visiting North Korea to shoot footage for a new TV show set to air on HBO in early April, VICE told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview before the group's departure from Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, center, pushes his luggage pass through a group of Chinese security officers as he makes his way to the check in counter at the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Rodman, and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, a VICE correspondent and a production crew from the company are visiting North Korea to shoot footage for a new TV show set to air on HBO in early April, VICE told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview before the group's departure from Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Former NBA star Dennis Rodman speaks at the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Rodman, three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, a VICE correspondent and a production crew from the company are visiting North Korea to shoot footage for a new TV show set to air on HBO in early April, VICE told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview before the group's departure from Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Dennis Rodman

    TV crews surround Dennis Rodman, a former NBA star at the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Flamboyant former NBA star Rodman is heading to North Korea with VICE media company — tattoos, piercings, bad-boy reputation and all. The American known as "The Worm" is set to arrive Tuesday in Pyongyang, becoming an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman, right, scratches his face upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. The American known as "The Worm" arrived in Pyongyang, becoming an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman is surrounded by journalists upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. The American known as "The Worm" arrived in Pyongyang, becoming an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman, right, scratches his face upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. The American known as "The Worm" arrived in Pyongyang, becoming an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Bull Bullard

    Bull Bullard, left, a member of the Harlem Globetrotters, is mobbed by journalists upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman known as "The Worm" arrived with three members of the basketball team, a VICE correspondent and a production crew from the company in Pyongyang, becoming an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Former NBA star Dennis Rodman walks at the Pyongyang Airport before he leaves North Korea Friday, March 1, 2013. Rodman hung out with North Korea's Kim Jong Un during his improbable journey to Pyongyang, watching the Harlem Globetrotters with the leader and later drinking and dining on sushi with him.(AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, center right, signs his autograph for a woman at the Pyongyang Airport before he leaves North Korea Friday, March 1, 2013. Rodman hung out with North Korea's Kim Jong Un during his improbable journey to Pyongyang, watching the Harlem Globetrotters with the leader and later drinking and dining on sushi with him.(AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Former NBA star Dennis Rodman speaks to the media at the Pyongyang Airport before he leaves North Korea Friday, March 1, 2013. Rodman hung out with North Korea's Kim Jong Un during his improbable journey to Pyongyang, watching the Harlem Globetrotters with the leader and later drinking and dining on sushi with him.(AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Dennis Rodman

    Flamboyant former NBA star Dennis Rodman, fifth from right, poses with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, in red jerseys, and a production crew for the media upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Rodman known as "The Worm" arrived in Pyongyang, becoming an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)

  • Members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team gesture as they prepare to check in with former NBA star Dennis Rodman, not in the photo, at the departure hall of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Dennis Rodman, and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, a VICE correspondent and a production crew from the company are visiting North Korea to shoot footage for a new TV show set to air on HBO in early April, VICE told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview before the group's departure from Beijing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

  • In this image released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and distributed by the Korea News Service, former NBA star Dennis Rodman, second right in front row, visits a dolphin aquarium in Pyongyang in North Korea Friday, March 1, 2013. Ending his unexpected round of basketball diplomacy in North Korea on Friday, Rodman called leader Kim Jong Un an "awesome guy" and said his father and grandfather were "great leaders." (AP Photo/KCNA via KNS) JAPAN OUT UNTIL 14 DAYS AFTER THE DAY OF TRANSMISSION