ESPN’s Baxter Holmes published the deep dive on the Lakers’ dysfunction that we’ve generally known was coming since Magic Johnson resigned as President of Basketball Operations in April. Please go read the whole thing, but as aggregators it is our solemn duty to pass along this remarkable anecdote of Rob Pelinka’s proclivity for stretching the truth:
One story shared around the organization unfolded in March 2018, when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was addressing the team at the Lakers’ practice facility as part of the franchise’s “Genius Talks” series. Standing beside Johnson, Pelinka told a story about his former client, Bryant.
“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.” 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.
Maybe there are some extenuating circumstances here — I’m told there was theory in a since-deleted Reddit thread that perhaps Kobe had seen a trailer for Dark Knight before Ledger passed — but it’s a lot more entertaining to imagine that Pelinka just made this story up out of thin air.
UPDATE: The 1:30-mark is Pelinka telling the story: