Rob Pelinka reportedly made up story about Kobe Bryant having dinner with Heath Ledger

Bonds

Tuesday’s Los Angeles Lakers bombshell report from ESPN’s Baxter Holmes was a lot of things.

It was Magic Johnson being painted as a fear monger — and then denying it. It was Linda Rambis being called a “shadow owner” with outsized influence over majority owner Jeanie Buss. It was Rich Paul being labeled as a meddler, overstepping his bounds as LeBron James’ agent to influence team decisions.

Rob Pelinka lied about what?

But standing out above the rest of the madness is the story about general manager Rob Pelinka, Kobe Bryant and Heath Ledger.

Accompanied by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a home-grown motivational speech series intended to fire up Lakers players, Pelinka regaled the team with a tale of how he hooked up his former client Kobe Bryant with a dinner with late Oscar-winning actor Heath Ledger after Bryant was inspired by his iconic “The Dark Knight” performance as the Joker.

“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,’” said Pelinka. “Obviously, you guys saw that movie, and he’s like, ‘Hey, hook me up with dinner with Heath Ledger, because he got so locked in to 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 in terms of mental preparation.”

It turns out that was all a lie, according to one of Holmes’ sources.

Ledger died before movie was released

Ledger died of a drug overdose six months prior to the release of “The Dark Knight,” leading those who heard Pelinka’s story last year to assume that Bryant had been granted a special screening of the movie before Ledger died.

Otherwise, Pelinka just made the whole thing up, and why would he do that? Surely he didn’t forget that Ledger was dead and tell a bold lie to his players that could easily be sussed out.

It appears that he did.

From the report:

“A source with direct knowledge said no such arrangement was made and no dinner ever took place.”

Bryant has not publicly commented on the report.

So why would Pelinka lie?

People tell lies for all sorts of different reasons. Sometimes it’s to protect others’ feelings. Sometimes it’s to gain an unfair advantage. Sometimes it’s to cover up a misdeed.

This lie — if indeed it is one — appears to be a lie for the sake of lying. Which is one of the most troubling sorts of lies.

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