After an NBA trade deadline filled with Lakers trade rumors, general manager Rob Pelinka hopped on a conference call with reporters to discuss everything going on with the team, from the trades they made, to Luke Walton’s performance and more.
None of that is what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about the latest in a long line of Pelinkanalogies™, a triumph that Pelinka would probably compare to a biblical tale if he were the one writing this article.
I’m here to talk about trolley cars:
The pastor and his fiancee decided they could let all the new people get between them, or they could hold each other closer so the people pushed them together.— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) February 8, 2019
Here’s the trolley car metaphor from the Rob Pelinka conference call in full context: pic.twitter.com/MHn5e8kA1q— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 8, 2019
If you’re unfamiliar with Pelinka’s press conferences, you might be thinking “what on earth is that man talking about?” or “did Pelinka find Phil’s old stash?”
Both are fair questions, but hilariously, anyone familiar with Pelinka’s pressers knows that this is not atypical for the Lakers GM, who commonly starts remarks by telling assembled reporters something along the lines of “you know I’m a storyteller” before beginning one if his incredible analogies.
Let’s take a look at some of the best ones in what we can tentatively call “An Oral History of What Certainly Sounds Like The Best Lakers Moves of All Time: As Told By Rob Pelinka,” beginning with my personal favorite.
The Lakers’ young players discovering how good LeBron James is at basketball was like a house cat learning how to be a lion from running into one in the jungle
At a press conference before the start of the 2018-19 season, Pelinka and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson talked about the Lakers’ offseason in great detail. We got our Pelinkanalogy™ when Pelinka started discussing how his young team learning from LeBron was different than when they had learned from other, less-accomplished veterans:
Pelinka: “I think of this story, I don’t know if it’s an ancient tale of old of this young kitten that’s running around in the jungle, and it sees a bobcat and it says ‘Oh, it’s a bigger cat, it must be a lion.’ So it starts mimicking the bobcat and thinks it’s become the king of the jungle. A year later, along comes a male lion and the little cat says ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize that’s what a lion’s roar was until I saw and heard it, so now I know how to become a lion.’
“Well, in terms of player development I think there’s no better way to do that then by exposing our young core to today’s greatest player, that is today’s hardest-working player too. Then they see what it takes to be great. It’s one thing to hear stories, it’s one thing to watch tape, but it’s another thing to be in the gym every day with LeBron in particular, and guys like Rondo who have won championships and won at a high level.”
This “The Lion King” reboot sounds pretty lit! Still, it can’t top what might actually be the best Pelinkanalogy™...
Signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in free agency was similar to Israelites getting fed bread from the sky after being lost in the desert
Rob Pelinka was more excited about signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope than any reasonable person should have been — or maybe, given that said acquisition may have paved the way for LeBron to join a year later, he just couldn’t reveal the real reason he was so ecstatic:
“I would venture to guess there’s people in the room that are familiar with the stories in the Book of Genesis, where there was a time when the Israelites were wandering in the desert and all of a sudden, bread came down from heaven,” Pelinka said while introducing Caldwell-Pope today. “That’s kind of what today feels like for us to have KCP join.”
The funniest part of this over-the-top analogy isn’t even that Pelinka compared KCP to food that saved people from starvation. It’s that he quoted the wrong book of the bible.
But while that might be the most overly bombastic Pelinka’s tales have been, there are still two other incredible yarns he’s told during his various storytime sessions with the press.
The time Pelinka started his press conference to celebrate the LeBron signing by reading from “The Alchemist”
This is just incredible (via The Chicago Tribune):
Rob Pelinka began his news conference Wednesday in El Segundo by connecting the two greatest players with whom he has worked with a book: “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho.
“LeBron James was actually carrying a copy of the book with him throughout the playoffs,” the Lakers general manager said. “And ironically before I took the job to be the general manager of the Lakers, Kobe [Bryant] had given me this book and said, ‘Hey, you are going to go on an interesting journey there, why don’t you read it.’”
Pelinka put on reading glasses and opened the book.
“But the young boy was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things,” Pelinka read. “When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places that he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”
The actual passages for this one aren’t that insane, which is what knocks it below the other stories on this list, but the fact that he read from a book to start his press conference about signing LeBron James will still go down as one of the most random and unintentionally funny moments of the Pelinka era.
Finally, to round things out, while Magic Johnson talking about wanting to leave Lonzo Ball to leave some of his records untouched and such have drawn most of the attention from Ball’s introductory presser, Pelinka also made a pretty phenomenal (and very on-brand) comparison.
How Lonzo Ball is actually like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates
“The first thing I said about Lonzo, I said he’s a transcendent talent. What I meant by that is his performance transcends just the box score. You can’t just look at his shooting percentage, or you can’t just look at the number of points he’s scoring, to asses his impact on our team.
“I liken it to – he’s such a transcendent talent – you look at great visionaries like Steve Jobs with Apple, or you look at Bill Gates with Microsoft. If you went and pulled Steve Jobs’ college transcript at Reed College where he went, or you look at Bill Gates’ college transcript at Harvard, it would show someone that may have struggled and that dropped out,” Pelinka said.
Jobs... Gates... Ball. The legacies left behind, indeed.
“Those great visionaries have a way of having an impact beyond how most people get judged, and I think Lonzo’s like that. To experience his impact on the Lakers you really have to go to a game and you have to see just the way he leads our team. The way he defends and disrupts passes, and rebounds and pushes pace.
“We’ve just been thrilled with the impact he’s had on our team, and we know the growth is going to continue and we’re just still ecstatic about Lonzo Ball,” he said, rounding out the latest of many Pelink-isms.
Kobe Bryant is the Beethoven/Shakespeare of friendship and is also similar to coffee
I am ashamed I did not remember this. Holy crap!
Pelinka said Kobe was like "sugar that dissolves in coffee...100% behind everything Laker and will continue to be and he's in the DNA here."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) March 10, 2017
The young Lakers are similar to Taylor Swift
“It’s kind of like if you go on YouTube and you think about Taylor Swift when she was 16 years old, maybe putting her first song. It’s her guitar, it’s her, it’s in a little studio, and you watch it and you listen to it and you say ‘wow, this is going to be a special thing to follow and a really cool narrative to unfold.’
“I have that sense about the Lakers, the way we’re playing in summer league we have this young core of Lonzo Ball, [Kyle] Kuzma, [Josh] Hart and it’s a pass-first system that Luke Walton has designed. I think in an era of guard-play where it’s score, if you look at the great point guards it’s score-score-score, I think we’re switching now into a mode of pass-pass-pass.
“I think it’s gonna be a really cool phenomenon to watch unfold, and much like the trajectory of a young artist that develops,” Pelinka said.
In conclusion, Rob Pelinka should have mandatory media availability every day.