Basketball great Dennis Rodman has met the North Korean leader and told him: “You have a friend for life”.

Delegation spokesman Alex Detrick told The Associated Press that Kim Jong Un joined the ex-NBA star to watch an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang.

Rodman, along with three Harlem Globetrotters and a VICE television crew, is in North Korea to shoot a documentary about the secretive communist state for HBO.

The unlikely trip and meeting come after North Korea’s recent nuclear test, which was condemned around the world.

Kim, a diehard basketball fan, told Rodman he hoped the visit would break the ice between the US and his country, Detrick added.

Kim later invited the Americans to dinner.

The leader plied the group with alcohol, according to VICE TV producer Jason Mojica.

“Um … so Kim Jong Un just got the VICEonHBO crew wasted … no really, that happened,” Mojica wrote on his Twitter feed from Pyongyang.

VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy later invited Kim to visit the US, a proposal met with hearty laughter, Detrick said.

Rodman, 51, most famously played for the Chicago Bulls, winning five championships during his career and is considered one of the sport’s best defensive players.

State TV showed Rodman having a look at towers and buildings in central Pyongyang as a guide told him about the secretive state’s founder Kim Il Sung.

The official news agency said the flamboyant star, known as “The Worm”, also visited a palace where Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il lie in state, and said he paid “high tribute”.