PYONGYANG, North Korea - Dennis Rodman said Monday that a game he and other former National Basketball Association players are planning in North Korea will be a "birthday present" for one of their most unlikely fans: leader Kim Jong Un.

Rodman's squad — featuring ex-All Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson and Vin Baker — will play against a team of North Koreans on Wednesday, which is believed to be Kim's birthday. The former NBA players, who arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, also include Eric "Sleepy" Floyd, guard Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith, who played for the New York Knicks. Four streetball players also are on the squad.

Rodman told The Associated Press he was glad to be in North Korea for the game, though he said he has gotten death threats for his repeated visits. He said proceeds from the game would go to a charity for the deaf in North Korea.

"The marshal is actually trying to change this country in a great way," Rodman said of Kim, using the leader's official title. "I think that people thought that this was a joke, and Dennis Rodman is just doing this because fame and fortune." Instead, he said, he sees the game as a "birthday present" for Kim and his country.

"Just to even have us here, it's an awesome feeling. I want these guys here to show the world, and speak about North Korea in a great light," he said. "I hope people will have a different view about North Korea."

NBA Commissioner David Stern issued a statement Monday night.

"The NBA is not involved with Mr. Rodman's North Korea trip and would not participate or support such a venture without the approval of the U.S. State Department," Stern said. "Although sports in many instances can be helpful in bridging cultural divides, this is not one of them."

The game will be another milestone in Rodman's surprising relationship with Kim, who rarely meets with foreigners and about whom very little is known outside of North Korea. Rodman is the highest-profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in late 2011.

Rodman travelled to North Korea for the first time last February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series. After spending time together, Rodman called Kim a "friend for life" and came back just before Christmas to hold tryouts for the North Korean basketball team, though he did not meet with Kim then.

Rodman has been given the red-carpet treatment on each of his trips, but visiting North Korea for any high-profile American is a political minefield. To keep the game itself friendly, the two sides will only play against each other in the first half, and then mix together in the second.

Americans are regarded as enemies in North Korea since the two countries never signed a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War. Thousands of U.S. troops are still based in South Korea, and the Demilitarized Zone between the North and South is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world.

Relations are also tense because of the North's development of nuclear weapons and its threats to use them if a conflict breaks out with Washington or Seoul. Rodman also has been slammed for not trying to use his influence with Kim to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, an American missionary with health problems who is being held in North Korea on charges of committing "anti-state" crimes.

To make the trip more complicated, Kim's once-powerful uncle was recently executed for a long litany of alleged crimes, including trying to divide the regime and usurp power from Kim. Although that has generated speculation abroad about the regime's unity, North Korean officials say the execution settled the issue and there is no instability.

Rodman, however, says none of that is his concern.

"I'm not a president, I'm not a politician, I'm not an ambassador," he said before arriving. "I'm just an athlete and the reason for me to go is to bring peace to the world, that's it. That's all I want, no money. I want no money, no money."

Former Knicks player Smith said he hopes the game will lead to better relations between the two countries.

"It's new being here, but overall the concept is not new," he said. "The team is made up of a lot of guys who really care, that's the most important, it's not about bringing dream-teamers. It's about guys who are coming that want to be a part of this, that care, and really that care about humanity."

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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