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Kobe Bryant clarifies Rob Pelinka’s story about meeting Heath Ledger

Rob Pelinka survived LeBron James’ first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, but not without the drama that’s now become commonplace for anyone involved with the league’s glamor franchise.

While most attention paid to the many conflicts swirling within the organization were related to Magic Johnson, perhaps the most headline-grabbing tidbit involving Pelinka was a story he told about Kobe Bryant and actor Heath Ledger. As noted in a story by ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, and later confirmed via video, Pelinka told the Lakers during a “Genius Series” meeting featuring Dwayne Johnson during the 2017-18 season that Bryant, inspired after watching The Dark Knight, had dinner with the late Oscar winner shortly before he dropped 61 points on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden nearly a decade earlier.

One problem: The game in question took place on February 2, 2009, more than a half year after Ledger had died.

During a recent appearance on the¬†Knuckleheads¬†podcast with former NBA players Quintin Richardson and Darius Miles, Bryant cleared up Pelinka’s confusion.

“This is actually the story Rob told that he got confused about, the Heath Ledger stuff,” he explained. “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 it just became all-consuming. It’s like, that inspired me to go into my Garden mode, where I go in there and…I don’t want to talk to nobody.”

Pelinka was Bryant’s agent before assuming Los Angeles’ chief front office position in March 2017,