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Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman checks into alcohol rehabilitation centre

Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman, second right, walks with North Korea's Sports Ministry Vice Minister Son Kwang Ho, third right, upon his arrival at the international airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. Rodman took a team of former NBA players on a trip for an exhibition game on Kim Jong Un's birthday, Wednesday, Jan. 8. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)

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Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman, second right, walks with North Korea's Sports Ministry Vice Minister Son Kwang Ho, third right, upon his arrival at the international airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014. Rodman took a team of former NBA players on a trip for an exhibition game on Kim Jong Un's birthday, Wednesday, Jan. 8. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon, File)

Dennis Rodman has checked into an undisclosed alcohol rehabilitation centre to treat his long-time struggle with alcoholism, his agent says.

Darren Prince declined on Saturday to say which facility will treat Rodman and how long he will be there. Rodman recently returned to the United States from his latest trip to North Korea.

He later apologized for comments he made in North Korea about a detained American missionary, saying he had been drinking and was under pressure as he organized an exhibition game there. He also sang "Happy Birthday" to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the start of the friendly game.

"What was potentially a historic and monumental event turned into a nightmare for everyone concerned," Prince said. "Dennis Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally. The pressure that was put on him to be a combination 'super human' political figure and 'fixer' got the better of him.

"He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused."

Rodman won five NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls and was one of the NBA's fiercest rebounders and most colorful personalities. Detroit selected Rodman in the second round of the 1986 draft out of Southeastern Oklahoma. The native of Trenton, N.J., also played for Chicago, San Antonio, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in of 2011.

He stamped his name on "Dennis Rodman — The original Bad Ass Premium Vodka," late last year. It was in the works before his relations with North Korea, but has taken off since.

Rodman, known as much for his piercings, tattoos and bad behaviour as he was for basketball, was the highest-profile American to meet Kim since Kim inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011. He travelled to the secretive state for the first time last February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television.

But the 52-year-old Rodman has been denounced 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 "anti-state" crimes.

He organized a group of retired NBA players to travel to North Korea for that exhibition game. Rodman dedicated the contest to his "best friend" Kim, who along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives watched from a special seating area. The capacity crowd of about 14,000 at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium clapped loudly as Rodman sang a verse from the song.

Rodman had an angry meltdown before the game on CNN, defending his decision to travel to North Korea.

"People forget Dennis is just an entertainer and retired NBA star," Prince said. "The fact remains that a basketball game was played in North Korea live in front of 14,000 people and hundreds of millions around the world viewed clips of the game."

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