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The Absolutely True Stories of Rob Pelinka

The Lakers general manager is being lambasted over his Kobe Bryant–Heath Ledger anecdote, but we have uncovered some other tall tales, straight from the man himself

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Tuesday, footage was circulated that showed Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka addressing his team, along with actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. During the talk, Pelinka told a story about helping Kobe Bryant meet Heath Ledger, after Bryant had seen Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight. As many have pointed out, this meeting seems unlikely to have taken place, as Ledger died a few months before the movie’s release. But that wasn’t all Pelinka said that day. Here, now, is the full, absolutely true and not at all fictional transcript of Pelinka’s remarks.

I remember myself and Kobe, who I worked with for 18 years, went on a hike up along the southern edge of the Grand Canyon. We were staying there with our families. When we got to the cliff, we looked down into the canyon and, for as far as the eye could see, there were dinosaurs. Huge, hulking creatures. Tyrannosaurus rexes, brontosauruses, stegosauruses, triceratops, and also saber-tooth tigers, though they were not a dinosaur. And Kobe, who I worked with for 18 years, pointed at one of the pterodactyls and said, “Did you know that I’ve ridden one of these before? It strengthens your core and helps sharpen your decision-making when time is not on your side.” That was his level of dedication to his craft and artistry. Later that day, we were able to see the Declaration of Independence get signed.

I’ll give you guys one last quick story, and then we’ll get out of here. Kobe Bryant, who I worked with for 18 years, the entire time, his entire career, he played here. And even when he didn’t have much talent around him, he weathered the storm without complaining and just kept winning games and making the people around him better. Lesser players would’ve asked out, demanded a trade, pouted. He and I were having lunch at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, and people kept coming up to us and thanking him for all that he does. They would cry in front of him. One woman brought her dog. Her dog was actually the dog that was Lassie. She was Lassie. The dog was Lassie. And he took it all in stride with a smile on his face, which is to say there’s a way to conduct yourself, gentlemen.

It’s interesting, I was actually really good friends with Jesus. And Kobe had heard about him, and I was always raving about him as just, like, a dude, and one day Kobe said to me, “Set up a meeting.” So I set up a dinner. They had dinner together every week for 11 years.

Which is all to say: Let us strive to be elite in every area of our lives. Interpersonal relationships, home life, work life, potpourri.

Rajon, I’d like to tell you a story. When I was 29 years old, I was studying abroad in London. I got word that my mother had gotten deeply sick. I left at once. I’m afraid to fly, so I had to go by boat. My friend Kobe, who I worked with for 18 years, demanded he go with me. He’s protective of me. He is my brother. First thing in the morning, we head to the dock. Anchors away for New York City. On that trip across the Atlantic, the ship struck an iceberg. It took a while, but the ship flooded. To stay alive you had to fight. You had to understand that wasn’t nobody else going to be looking out for you out there in that water. It was you and the darkness. Keep moving or get swallowed. Those of us who survived the Titanic crash get together once every year just to chat and reminisce and talk about the things that we miss about the people we lost. I talk about how much Kobe, who I worked with for 18 years, meant to me and how as long as I’m alive his legacy will live on. But yeah, so help these younger guys, you know? Pull Lonzo aside. Pull Josh aside. Kuz. You are the King Solomon of our organization. Pigs can fly, we just haven’t figured out how yet.

Guys, I wanna leave you with this. Bono and I are half-brothers. Same mom, different dads. And we were hanging out in the studio one day, this was, I think, 1979? Let’s see, I graduated from college in 1942 so, yeah ’79. And we’re sitting there, and I started just sort of humming this melody that I had composed. He perked up. Started tapping his foot. Tap. Tap. Tap. And I’m still humming. Tap. Tap. Tap. We wrote “Hey Jude” in six minutes that day. And I don’t tell you that to brag like, “Look at me, I wrote ‘Hey Jude.’” Truly. I don’t even like the song that much. What I’m saying is, inspiration can strike at any time. Will you be there to meet it? Will you let yourself be successful?

I remember when I was in the seventh grade, I was 8 feet tall.

And thank you, Kentavious, I definitely feel that and I dig where you’re coming from. That reminds me of a story. You know, me and my fellow soldiers, when we took the beach at Normandy, we all sort of looked around at each other and said, “OK, we’ve done something big today.” This is—this is pretty huge. I don’t care what anyone else says. People are going to try to downplay this and act like it’s not a big deal because everyone is cynical and the world sucks and where’s my cellphone charger? Well, guess what? That’s bull crap. It is a big deal. We just took the beach at Normandy. World War I will never be the same.

One of my very best friends growing up was James Taylor. We were two grades apart but we hung out all the time. Rode our bikes together. Played catch. His song “Fire and Rain”? That’s about me. I was talking to him one day and I had taken a drink of some sparkling water, thinking that it was regular tap water. The drink was somehow spicy and cool. I said to him, “It’s like fire and rain inside my throat. Have you ever seen fire? Have you ever seen rain? I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.” He sprinted away from me and grabbed a pencil from his desk drawer and began to write. That’s a true story.

Guys, announcement. OK. I have what is called in the scientific community X-ray vision. This means that I am able to see through walls and doors, pretty much all physical matter. I can see through you if I need to. And I’m not telling you that to scare you or worry you or make you think people are watching y’all all the time. You’re grown men. We trust you. If you guys need anything at all today, go to Kurt. He’s got you. One of the best guys I know and solid as a rock. Kurt, funnily enough, recently climbed Mount Everest. Would love for some of our bigs to spend time with him next week. JaVale, you especially.

To break the sound barrier—that’s not, when I was a kid, something I wanted to do. It wasn’t my dream. But then, somehow, for a little while, it was. And I did it. I did it, and I moved on to other things. I moved on to being an agent. After that, I moved on to being the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers. In less than a decade, I will be the governor of California.

Fellas, let’s focus in and have a good shootaround today, all right? Hey, Alex, eyes? Please listen to me. Dragons are real, OK? I rode in on one today and I parked it in the parking lot. It’s tied up right now. You’re welcome to go out there and check it out. If you’re not tough enough then that’s cool. I understand. Please just let me know if you’re going to ride my dragon. Everyone? Dragons are real. I breed dragons now.

Dude. Mo. Did I tell you I drive this totally sick Corvette? I drive it around and get all the gals. You and I gotta cruise together. Go down to Venice Beach, scope out the talent. I was once voted president of the United States but I decided that I did not want the job.

Lance, I am the president of the United States of America.

And Luke, you’ll find this interesting. I actually had a big hand in apprehending El Chapo. I went undercover as one of the members of his cartel, infiltrated the group, and systematically broke it apart from the inside. For my efforts I received a Purple Star. I’m not scared of you, Alex. You may intimidate some of the other guys on the team, but you don’t intimidate me. I was one of the immortals in ancient Greece.

Listen, I was there on the night Lincoln got shot. I was in the theater. We were all freaking out. It was insane. Be glad y’all weren’t there. How dare you, LeBron? I have never, not once, pooped my pants. Let’s come out with energy and intensity today, guys.