Stephen A.: Kobe Bryant 'Livid' About Being Mentioned in Current Lakers Drama

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25:  Former Laker Kobe Bryant and Lakers GM Rob Pelinka attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on October 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was "livid" to be dragged into the team's ongoing drama, according to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

Smith said Tuesday on First Take that Bryant was frustrated because he doesn't maintain any sort of formal relationship with the Lakers and isn't a part of their day-to-day operations.

ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes wrote a detailed breakdown of the dysfunction plaguing the Lakers behind the scenes. While Holmes never insinuates Bryant is a reason for the franchise's problems, the 18-time All-Star is the focus for one of the more eye-catching anecdotes.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who was Bryant's agent before moving into a front-office role, told a story about how Bryant saw The Dark Knight and was so impressed with Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker he had to sit down with the actor. Pelinka said Bryant then met with Ledger over dinner.

The moment comes at the 1:35 mark of the video below.

Holmes noted The Dark Knight hit theaters in July 2008, six months after Ledger died, making the meeting impossible.

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While the episode arguably paints Pelinka in a worse light, it allowed Bryant to get roped into the Lakers' predicament, essentially as a bystander.