Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka didn't when addressing the team in early 2018. The New York Post reported he spoke about a dinner between Kobe Bryant and late actor Heath Ledger which apparently took place after the actor's death.
Standing alongside Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, who was a guest speaker as a part of the team's "Genius Talks" series, Pelinka shared a fictional anecdote of a time Bryant asked his former agent to set up a dinner between him and the actor.
"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 told the team. "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."
Ledger died six months before the July 2008 release of the film, and posthumously won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Pelinka was recently accused of betrayal by former team president Magic Johnson, and has earned a reputation with the franchise for disingenuous, or entirely false, storytelling, multiple team sources told ESPN.
Johnson abruptly left the Lakers at the end of the season before torching Pelinka on ESPN's First Take last week. However, according to a lengthy report from ESPN's Baxter Holmes, Johnson was the driving force behind a Lakers culture that bred dysfunction, alienated longtime staffers and caused multiple people to be prescribed anti-anxiety medicine.