Pelinka: Summoned vital energy via Kobe's spirit

1:24 AM ET

When things were at their most difficult and trying during 100-plus days inside the NBA bubble, Rob Pelinka said he often heard Kobe Bryant’s voice in his head telling him to “stay the course” and “finish the task.”

After the Los Angeles Lakers returned to the top by winning the franchise’s 17th championship Sunday night, Pelinka looked toward the ceiling during his postgame interview session and got emotional thinking about his best friend.

“When I took the job, I remember he said, ‘Hey, I know what you did for me for 20 years,'” said the Lakers vice president of basketball operations and GM, who used to be Bryant’s agent. “He said, ‘I’ll give you two, three years, you’ll fix this. You’ll get the Lakers back on top.'”

Looking up, Pelinka got choked up as he uttered a message to his longtime friend.

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“I guess you were right, man,” Pelinka said. “You give me the energy to do it.”

Vanessa Bryant posted a picture of Pelinka and Bryant on her Instagram story with the words, “Congratulations Uncle P! Congratulations @lakers Kobe was right, RP! ‘Stay the course blockout the noise.’

“Wish Kobe and Gigi

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