The late Kobe Bryant was a worldwide icon for his unmatched talent as an NBA basketball player, his many philanthropic pursuits, and his general fame as celebrity. But did you know that one of Kobe's endeavors included a role on Saved by the Bell (2020)? A new interview with the stars of Peacock's Saved by the Bell reboot series reveals how Kobe Bryant was indeed about to film an episode of the show just before his tragic passing (alongside his daughter Gianna) in a helicopter crash in January of 2020.
Saved by the Bell reboot stars Josie Totah and Alycia Pascual-Peña explained to EW how Kobe Bryant was set to step onto the Saved by the Bell, just a few days after he passed:
"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, adding that Bryant agreeing to do the show was in itself, "so surreal."
It was actually Kobe's connection to Saved by the Bell that led to the cast finding out about his tragic death:
"I remember learning that he had passed through one of our best friends Anjelika Washington," Pascual-Peña recalled. "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."
Kobe (41) and Gianna (13) were two of nine passengers (including six family friends and pilot Ara Zobayan) that died in a helicopter crash while taking a flight from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, to Camarillo Airport in Ventura County. They were planning to attend a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy; due to heavy fog and light rain the pilot lost his bearings and the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Calabasas, California, and began burning. The passengers were killed on impact. The incident sparked investigations and lawsuits – including Kobe's widow Vanessa Bryant suing Los Angeles County over an incident involving officers allegedly showing off horrific photos of corpses from the fiery crash while in public.