Kobe Bryant explains how Rob Pelinka messed up Heath Ledger story
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was caught in a bizarre lie earlier this year involving an alleged meeting between Kobe Bryant and late Oscar-winning actor Heath Ledger. As it turns out, he didn’t fabricate the entire story.
Maybe just the important parts.
When the Lakers hosted The Rock to speak at their “Genius Series” back in March, Pelinka shared a story about the time Kobe was so inspired by “The Dark Knight” that he sat down for dinner with Ledger to discuss his portrayal of The Joker in the film. However, the movie was released in July 2008, which was six months after Ledger’s death, and no such meeting ever took place.
Pelinka may have just gotten the details mixed up. During a recent appearance on the “Knuckleheads” podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, Bryant explained that he was inspired by Ledger’s performance in “The Dark Knight” and that it did influence the way he prepared for a game at Madison Square Garden in 2009, but he never met with the actor.
“I had to find that space. I didn’t go out to dinner in New York. I stayed in my room. This is actually the story Rob told, that he got confused about, the Heath Ledger stuff,” Bryant said, as transcribed by Pete Blackburn of CBS Sports. “Because I stayed up watching Batman, and watching Heath Ledger. And then I went and started researching about Heath Ledger, and how he got into character and how he just became all-consuming. That inspired me to go into my Garden mode. When I go in there I don’t want to say hi to the gen — I don’t want say hi to these people — I don’t wanna talk to nobody. Everybody leave me alone.”
That’s less embarrassing for Pelinka than if he had made the entire story up. It seemed like there was no way he could just blatantly lie like that, though Kobe could have hung him out to dry if he wanted to. With some of the negative stories that came out about Pelinka along with the Ledger anecdote, Kobe probably wanted to go easy on him.