Kobe Bryant was always known for his ‘Mamba Mentality,’ a mindset that drove him to always be at his best regardless of the circumstances around him.
Bryant’s former agent and Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka always encouraged this mentality and years later, he attempted to tell stories about the lunacy that was Bryant in his prime.
The pinnacle of these stories was one regarding Heath Ledger, the late actor who posthumously won nearly every major award for his performance as The Joker in the “The Dark Knight.” Pelinka shared how Bryant watched that film before a game against the New York Knicks and wanted to meet with Ledger to discuss the mental preparation of a performance like that. Pelinka shared he set up the meeting, forgetting that Ledger had passed away the year before.
It was a moment that certainly called into question Pelinka’s credibility. However, Bryant managed to clear up the story and revealed what happened. The revised version of the story certainly helps Pelinka, but makes his memory sound very suspect, via the Knuckleheads Podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles:
“I didn’t go out to dinner in New York. I stayed up watching Batman and researched how he became all consuming. It inspired me to get into my Garden mode.”
While this doesn’t fully clear up what Pelinka was talking about, it lets the fans know that there was a story to be told about Ledger in “The Dark Knight,” but it was very different than the story Pelinka originally went with:
“There was one time when Kobe, who I worked with for 18 years, was going back to play in Madison Square Garden, and he had just seen ‘The Dark Knight,’” Pelinka said. “Obviously, you guys saw that movie, and he’s like, ‘Hey, hook me up with dinner with Heath Ledger, because he got so locked into that role. I want to know how he mentally went there.’ So, he had dinner with Heath, and he talked about how he locks in for a role. And Kobe used some of that in his game against the Knicks.”
Whatever Pelinka was thinking, it’s good to know that this story has — for the most part — been cleared up. Bryant did use Ledger’s performance as motivation to put up a record-breaking 61 points at Madison Square Garden.
Maybe in the future, Pelinka will consult with Bryant before he brings stories about their days working together to the very unforgiving public.