It took far too long, but we finally have some clarity on that weird story that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka shared about Kobe Bryant's alleged dinner with late actor Heath Ledger.
You may remember a video making the rounds earlier this year that showed Pelinka addressing his team (alongside Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson) and sharing an interesting anecdote aboutto talk about actor's portrayal of The Joker in 'The Dark Knight.'
According to Pelinka, Bryant watched the 2008 movie and was so impressed with the way Ledger immersed himself in the character that he was inspired to reach out for a meeting. They "had dinner" and Bryant took what he learned from Ledger and used it to drop 61 points on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in February of 2009.
It feels safe to assume that many people would love to talk to Ledger about his role the Batman villain considering it has already become a somewhat iconic portrayal, one that earned him an Oscar in 2009.
However, very few have gotten the opportunity to have that conversation with Ledger considering he died shortly before the movie's release. As such, Pelinka's story raised plenty of eyebrows and questions. It seemed he either made it up or got some details incredibly mixed up.
This week, during an appearance on Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles' podcast "Knuckleheads," Bryant finally provided some clarity. Kobe explained that he never actually met with Ledger, but he was inspired by the way he approached his role as The Joker and used that as inspiration for his big night at MSG.
"I had to find that space. I didn't go out to dinner in New York. I stayed in my room. This is actually the story Rob told, that he got confused about, the Heath Ledger stuff. 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 he just became all-consuming. That inspired me to go into my Garden mode. When I go in there I don't want to say hi to the gen—I don't want say hi to these people—I don't wanna talk to nobody. Everybody leave me alone."
So, yeah, Pelinka seriously butchered the details of that story, but I suppose it's better than making the entire thing up out of thin air. Either way, Kobe being obsessed and inspired by someone who got so immersed in becoming a villain that it may have literally killed him is the least surprising thing ever.