SEOUL -- The retired N.B.A. star Dennis Rodman said Monday that on his visit to North Korea last week, the country's leader, Kim Jong-un, trusted him enough to let him hold his baby daughter and asked him to bring a team of former basketball stars for games in Pyongyang and train the North's basketball team for the next Olympics.
Mr. Rodman, who had visited Pyongyang once before at the invitation of Mr. Kim, thus solved one mystery about the North Korean leader. Although Mr. Kim's wife, Ri Sol-ju, was seen pregnant in the North's state-run television footage last year, no outsider has reported having seen the baby, much less holding it. In an interview with The Guardian on Sunday, Mr. Rodman called Mr. Kim's baby "Ju-ae."
Speaking at a news conference arranged in New York on Monday by Paddy Power, an Irish betting company that helped finance his trip to Pyongyang, Mr. Rodman also revealed that Mr. Kim was 30 years old and that his birthday was Jan. 8. The age and birthday conform with what South Korean intelligence officials have said.
Mr. Kim and Mr. Rodman have forged an odd friendship since the flamboyant N.B.A. legend made his first trip to Pyongyang in February. During that visit, Mr. Kim threw parties for him, and they watched a basketball game together. Mr. Rodman has since publicly professed his affection for his "friend," Mr. Kim.
On Monday, Mr. Rodman said Mr. Kim gave him the right to write a book about him.
"If you meet the marshal over there, he is a very good guy," Mr. Rodman said, using the military title for Mr. Kim. "He doesn't want a war."
"If he wanted to bomb anyone in the world, he would have done it," he said, apparently referring to Pyongyang's recent moves to ease tensions after months of threats this year.
Mr. Rodman said he would put together a team of 12 former N.B.A. stars to travel to Pyongyang in January for one week. He said he hoped to recruit people like his former Chicago Bulls teammate Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone. They will play a North Korean team on Jan. 8 and another match two days later, he said. Mr. Kim promised a stadium and 95,000 fans.
Mr. Rodman said he planned to travel to Pyongyang in December to help select and prepare a North Korean team. A second set of games between the teams will also be played in June in Europe, according to an agreement between the North Korean minister of sports and Mr. Rodman that was read during the news conference on Monday.
Mr. Rodman said he accepted Mr. Kim's request for him to train the North's Olympic basketball team.
Critics have called Mr. Rodman's Pyongyang trips nothing but publicity stunts for both him and Mr. Kim, a brutal dictator whose labor camps are believed to hold tens of thousands of political prisoners. But Mr. Rodman said on Monday that his basketball diplomacy was to "open doors" and "bridge a gap."
He criticized President Obama for not talking to Mr. Kim. Speaking of his "inside track" with Mr. Kim, he also challenged Mr. Obama to come to talk to him.
"Even give him a call, that's all he wants," Mr. Rodman said, adding that Mr. Kim wanted to "change" and wanted conversations with Washington. "We are not a bad country," he quoted Mr. Kim as saying.
Mr. Rodman said he was not trying to use his friendship with Mr. Kim to win the release of Kenneth Bae, an American missionary imprisoned in the country for "hostile acts."
"If you want this guy to be released, why don't you ask Obama?" he said.
Christine Hauser contributed reporting from New York.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.