One of the things that has always made Kobe Bryant special is his desire to be the best and learn from others who are the best in their respective fields.
There are countless stories of Bryant having conversations with any number of stars in other sports, media, entertainment, and other careers.
Much like Bryant seeking out tidbits and guidance from others, Lakers general manager and Bryant’s best friend Rob Pelinka has become very much known for his stories. At almost every major press conference, Pelinka has at some point delved into a deep story either directly involving a player or relating to one.
Obviously, the player Pelinka would have the most stories about would be Bryant, whom he remains very close with. One story he told about Bryant to the Lakers involved Heath Ledger, who famously played The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight.’ Pelinka told this story during Dwayne Johnson’s visit to the team as part of their Genius Talks series, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
“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.”
Unfortunately for Pelinka, the story doesn’t quite add up regarding the timeline of Ledger’s death and the movie’s release:
“The Dark Knight” was released in July 2008, six months after Ledger died. A source with direct knowledge said no such arrangement was made and no dinner ever took place.
This is an odd situation for Pelinka to be caught up in. It is very possible that Pelinka simply got his stories mixed up. Of course, it is also possible that Pelinka simply made the entire thing up to make himself and Bryant look better. If that was the case, it would seem to make little sense.
There are so many stories and instances of Bryant seeking and learning from the best that to make one up is just unnecessary. With all of the drama surrounding the Lakers, something like this is a minor issue at most but with the current optics of Pelinka, it certainly doesn’t paint him in any sort of positive light.