Though Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was elected to the basketball Hall of Fame last weekend, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka waited until Wednesday to offer a poignant tribute to his close friend and one-time client.
Rob Pelinka on Kobe Bryant officially getting the Hall of Fame nod: "It was a moment full of mixed emotions. All of us are heartbroken he couldn’t be there to receive that honor in person. But I have a level of confidence he is with us in spirit and is celebrating that."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 8, 2020
Pelinka waiting to offer his thoughts about Bryant’s accolade was understandable, given the still-raw emotions felt after the January deaths of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash.
Not only did Pelinka serve as the elder Bryant’s agent, but also was the godfather of the younger Bryant. That bond serves as a testament to the close relationship Pelinka and the elder Bryant shared.
Pelinka was hired as Lakers general manager in February 2017, less than a year after the elder Bryant had ended his legendary 20-year career with the team. Shortly after the hiring, the elder Bryant strongly endorsed the decision.
No one knows the business of basketball more than @robpelinka. I wish him & the Lakers much success as they bring winning bball back to LA.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) March 7, 2017
At present, Pelinka, the Lakers and the rest of the NBA are waiting to see if and when the league resumes play following the March 11 shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time of the work stoppage, the Lakers had held a 49-14 record, the best mark in the Western Conference.
The continuing uncertainty surrounding the virus could also affect the scheduled induction of Bryant, with the tentative date of Aug. 29 possibly pushed back to a later date.
Regardless of when the ceremony take place, it’s clear that Pelinka and a massive contingent of Lakers fans will either be in attendance or watching a broadcast of the event.