- Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka claimed to have set up a meeting between Kobe Bryant and Heath Ledger after “The Dark Knight” came out, according to an ESPN report.
- Ledger had died of an overdose six months before “The Dark Knight” was released, and a source told ESPN that the meeting never happened.
- According to the report, some around the Lakers and NBA view Pelinka as “disingenuous” and lacking in credibility.
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According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka once told the team a story about arranging a meeting between Kobe Bryant, his former client, and actor Heath Ledger that may not have happened at all.
According to Holmes, Pelinka told the team that after “The Dark Knight” came out, Bryant wanted to meet Ledger to inquire about how Ledger got so deeply involved in his role as The Joker.
“[Kobe’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,” Pelinka said to the team. Pelinka claimed Bryant used the talk as motivation for a game against the New York Knicks.
However, as Holmes noted, Ledger died of an overdose in January of 2008, six months before “The Dark Knight” came out.
According to Holmes, a source with direct knowledge said the meting never took place.
Here’s a video of Pelinka’s comments:
There is a possible explanation of Pelinka’s comments that allows the timelines to match up.Comicbook.com noted that while Bryant may not have been able to see “The Dark Knight” before it was released, and thus before Ledger died, an eight-minute prologue of the film was shown before an IMax release of “I Am Legend” in December 2007. With the Lakers having played the Knicks in New York on December 23, 2007, Bryant may have seen the prologue, and asked to meet Ledger about a month before Ledger died.
Holmes reported that some members of the Lakers view Pelinka’s “storytelling” as “disingenuous.”
Pelinka remains the team’s GM but has taken public criticism of late, including from former team president Magic Johnson, who abruptly resigned from his position in April.
Last week, Johnson went on ESPN’s “First Take” and criticized Pelinka, saying Pelinka “back-stabbed” by speaking poorly of Johnson behind his back and wanted Johnson’s job. Johnson classified Pelinka’s actions as “betrayal” and said he was warned before taking the Lakers job in 2017 not to trust Pelinka.
Read more: Magic Johnson went scorched earth on the Lakers’ power structure and GM Rob Pelinka one month after abruptly retiring as team president
Pelinka was asked about Johnson’s comments during a press conference to introduce new Lakers coach Frank Vogel and called them “saddening” and untrue.
According to Holmes, members within the Lakers and outside of the organization have expressed concerns about Pelinka’s credibility. Pelinka took the Lakers job with no prior front office experience.
Between the Lakers missing the postseason, theirturbulent coaching search, and organizational upheaval, the offseason is setting up as a crucial moment to try and turn things around.
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