Just two days before the NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers announced sweeping changes to its front office.
First, Los Angeles relieved general manager Mitch Kupchak from his duties and next hired Earvin “Magic” Johnson as its new president of basketball operations in the afternoon on February 21.
Two weeks later, the organization filled its GM job by hiring Rob Pelinka. The hiring was officially announced March 7.
Pelinka comes to the Lakers with a vast background in sports and representing players as an agent. In his time during school, he became known not just for being on the basketball team, but also for his intelligence.
Lakers president and governor Jeanie Buss said in a statement that she is excited to welcome Pelinka to the Lakers.
We have worked closely with Rob for many years and have first-hand experience with his knowledge of the league and the business of basketball. In our recent discussions, it was clear that he also shares our goal of returning the Lakers to being an elite NBA franchise. Together with Earvin and Coach Walton, I believe we are in a great position to bring winning basketball back to the Lakers.
Here’s what you need to know about Pelinka:
1. Pelinka Is Kobe Bryant’s Agent
Pelinka, a sports agent, has over 25 clients that play or have played in the NBA. Highlighting that list is Kobe Bryant, who retired after the 2015-2016 NBA season.
Also on Pelinka’s list of clients is James Harden, Andre Iguodala, Buddy Hield, Trevor Ariza, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer and Shabazz Napier, among many others.
2. He Played Basketball With the Fab 5
Pelinka doesn’t just represent athletes, he was one himself.
Pelinka, who was listed as a 6-foot-6, 200-pound point guard, played basketball at the University of Michigan from 1989-1993. He was a role player during his time as a Wolverine and was a member of the Wolverines’ national runner-up teams. He played with Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson — better known as the Fab Five.
Pelinka became the first player at Michigan to reach three NCAA Tournament Final Fours, though the latter two were vacated following a scandal. As a freshman in the 1988-1989 season, he was part of Michigan’s NCAA National Championship team.
He played in 36 games during his career at Michigan, averaging 4.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1 assist per game.
3. He Had a 3.9 GPA at Michigan
Pelinka has always been known for his brains.
He attended and played basketball at Lake Forest High School and was recruited by Ivy League schools right away. As he continued to build his high school basketball career, Division I schools started to take notice, and Pelinka signed with Michigan, choosing to attend the university instead of Illinois.
He sought out to get a degree in business and had a 3.9 GPA at Michigan’s School of Business Administration.
After graduating from Michigan, he graduated from the university’s law school aiming to become a sports agent.
4. He Founded a Successful Sports Agency
Pelinka founded Landmark Sports Agency, LLC., based out of Los Angeles. He is the president and CEO of the company.
Since its inception, Landmark has grown extensively and now boasts seven agents.
According to the agency’s website, Pelinka’s firm seeks “to guide, mentor and support our players and their families in navigating the complex and intricate issues they face in the arena of professional sports.”
Forbes ranked Pelinka’s agency No. 34 in it “The World’s Most Valuable Sports Agencies” list. It’s noted as being worth $13.5 million while having a contract value of clients of over $385 million. It’s negotiated almost $400 million in active NBA player contracts.
5. He Is Married to a Pediatrician
Rob is married to Kristin Pelinka, a licensed pediatrician in Costa Mesa, California.
Kristin graduated from Duke University and then UCLA’s School of Medicine. According to her bio, she completed her residency at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
The couple have two children that are toddlers, according to her bio, and she specializes in child development, behavioral issues, special needs children, international medicine and volunteerism.
The couple have been active in a Christian group which is an extension of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. They started being part of the life group, which is made up of married couples, in 2011.
Rob, Kristin and their children have volunteered at The Painted Turtle Camp, a camp for children who have life-threatening illnesses.