Kobe Bryant is best known for his 20-year career playing basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Oscar winner always kept a foot in the entertainment industry as well. As it turns out, he came close to racking up one more screen credit before his tragic death in February 2020.
In a new episode of their “Dare We Say” podcast (via Entertainment Weekly), actresses Josie Totah and Alycia Pascual-Peña, who starred on Peacock’s short-lived reboot of “Saved by the Bell” revealed that the basketball legend almost appeared on the show. Bryant had been a fan of the original series and was scheduled to film a cameo on the reboot just days before the helicopter crash that killed him and his daughter.
“A wild tidbit that I don’t think a lot of people know, or, it’s not important at all because obviously, we are the least of importance when it comes to this legend and his daughter’s passing, but we were actually supposed to film with Kobe two days after he died,” Totah said.
While it is unclear what episode Bryant would have appeared in or what role he would have played, both actresses recalled the palpable excitement on set when Bryant’s casting was revealed.
“I remember learning that he had passed through one of our best friend Anjelika Washington,” Pascual-Peña added. “She called me specifically because she knew that I’d been talking about it for a month with her — that I was so excited to meet Kobe on set and I can’t believe that he was a fan of the first ‘Saved by the Bell’ and that he was excited to be on the show.”
While both actresses were heartbroken about Bryant’s death and regret missing the opportunity to work with him, they both feel strongly that he left a legacy deserving of respect and admiration.
“It’s really beautiful and eye-opening to see how one person can bring joy to so many people. Some people live their entire lives never seeing the full impact they had on the world until they pass,” Pascual-Peña said. “Thankfully Kobe was given his flowers. That man was so loved and so respected.”