Dennis Rodman in N. Korea Women & Children Come First

6/14/2017 7:17 AM PDT

Dennis Rodman Hanging with North Korean Women's Basketball Team and School Kids

Dennis Rodman stuck to what he knows, at least to start to his North Korea trip ... visiting with a hoops squad -- but he also connected with Kim Jong-un's roots.

The NBA hall of famer checked in with the Pothonggang women's basketball team Wednesday during their practice. We're guessing he emphasized rebounding.

Dennis also toured the town of Mangyongdae, the birthplace of Jong-un's grandfather ... Kim Il Sung. The 6'7" former basketball star quickly became the center of attention as a group of school kids also walked around the town.

He's reportedly meeting with N. Korea's sports minister this week, and also has bowling on the agenda ... for some reason. Still unclear if he'll get a sit-down with Jong-un.