If you enjoy disaster stories, the Los Angeles Lakers' 2019 campaign is a masterpiece on par with "Titanic." Half the team quit after a failed coup by LeBron James' agent/best friend. Their franchise icon quit because he a) felt backstabbed and b) didn't like working full-time. The team's owner made James Dolan seem competent.
A new ESPN story covers these narratives and more in deciphering where things went wrong for Los Angeles last season. However, no tale encapsulates the s*** show that was the Lakers than this tidbit about Lakers GM Rob Pelinka's "disingenuous" storytelling.
One story shared around the organization unfolded in March 2018, when Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was addressing the team at the Lakers' practice facility as part of the franchise's "Genius Talks" series.
Standing beside Johnson, Pelinka told a story about his former client, Bryant.
"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."
"The Dark Knight" was released in July 2008, six months after Ledger died. A source with direct knowledge said no such arrangement was made and no dinner ever took place.
In Pelinka's defense, Ledger's death, and the movie's subsequent success, was only the biggest cultural story of the past century. It's just a shame Pelinka didn't take his (alleged) falsehoods a step farther. "You know guys, this struggle reminds me of the time I was on a plane that was hit by birds. And while things looked bleak, I went into the cockpit, grabbed the controls and landed that jet safely in the Hudson. So the next time you're hit with adversity, try to stay calm through the madness."
Anyway, our thoughts and prayers to all Lakers fans in this moment as they wave bye-bye to any hopes of securing a viable free agent this summer.