The story, told by Rob Pelinka, has been reported on before but recently resurfaced in a new ESPN article.
In the story, which is centered around the Lakers’ organizational dysfunction, including everything from the team’s losing season with Lebron James to Magic Johnson‘s resignation as team executive, the Bryant anecdote is mentioned. Pelinka originally shared the story in March 2018.
“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.”
There's video of Pelinka telling the Kobe-Ledger story. How come someone blatantly lie like that? pic.twitter.com/hsh1u8wwp7
— John Ledesma (@JohnnyNBA) May 28, 2019
The Dark Knight was released in July 2008, six months after Ledger died, and the Knicks game Pelinka was referring to didn’t happen until February 2, 2009.
The story has led to Pelinka, Ledger, and The Dark Knight trending on Twitter, with people sharing their own takes on the news.
when heath ledger showed up for dinner with kobe to discuss the dark knight pic.twitter.com/G0ESQurNlR
— joon lee (@joonlee) May 28, 2019
Rob Pelinka is a madman. Telling a room full of Lakers about the time Kobe Bryant had dinner with Heath Ledger to discuss his performance in The Dark Knight. Ledger had passed away months before that dinner supposedly took place. pic.twitter.com/J0qGlsjMSA
— David Dennis Jr. (@DavidDTSS) May 28, 2019
Rob Pelinka boasted of getting Kobe Bryant and Heath Ledger together for dinner after the former saw THE DARK KNIGHT. There’s one fairly large hole in that story… pic.twitter.com/kGrTGmZkF6
— Jeremy Smith (@mrbeaks) May 28, 2019
As for why Palinka might have shared the false story? As ESPN reported in the article, multiple Lakers staffers consider the general manager’s stories “disingenuous — at best.”