Kobe Bryant racked up an impressive number of acting credits before his untimely death

By Jodi Guglielmi
January 27, 2020 11:50 AM
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Kobe Bryant was much more than a basketball player.

Bryant, who tragically died Sunday alongside his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven other people in a helicopter crash, made several television appearances throughout his illustrious basketball career, oftentimes starring as himself.

From Sister Sister and The Challenge to Modern Family and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the 41-year-old racked up an impressive number of acting credits over the years.

Here is a look at some of the late NBA legend’s most memorable television guest spots.

Arli$$, 1996

Bryant made his acting debut in the HBO show Arli$$, which followed a sports agent and became known for its celebrity cameos.

In a behind-the-scenes clip from Bryant’s day on set, the then-17-year-old is seen laughing and chatting with the cast between takes.

Sister Sister, 1996

Fresh out of the NBA draft, Bryant made a guest appearance on the hit ABC Family show. In the short cameo, Bryant is escorted around Tia Landry (Tia Mowry) and Tamera Campbell’s (Tamera Mowry) school, where he is shooting a commercial.

“When I’m not in training, I’m headed for Wally’s Waffles, home of the hot-buttered flapjack,” he says in the clip.

Moesha, 1996

Bryant appeared as teenager Terry Hightower on Moesha. It wasn’t too much of a stretch: Byrant’s character was a high school star basketball player studying for the SATs.

In the episode, Bryant’s character asks Moesha (Brandy) to take the test for him so that he doesn’t lose his sports scholarship.

All That, 1998

With nearly two years in the NBA under his belt, Bryant began to cash in on his worldwide stardom and sex appeal.

In a hilarious clip from All That, a young Amanda Bynes and Christy Knowings gush over Bryant in during a sketch called “What-Everr.” In the clip, the girls grill the basketball player about his relationship status before spilling a glass of water on him in an attempt to get him to take off his shirt.

“Do you have any idea how cute you are?” Bynes shrieks.

The Challenge, 1998

After the news of Bryant’s shocking death broke, Challenge alumnus Mark Long fondly remembered shooting an episode of the hit MTV show with the basketball player.

“Kobe shot an episode of @ChallengeMTV w/ us years ago. He was so kind and generous. He stayed after the shoot for an hour and signed everyone’s jerseys. I still have my jersey,” he wrote on Twitter.

Long also shared a handful of photos from their day together, including the jerseys Bryant signed.

Bette, 2000

Bryant made an appearance on Bette Midler‘s short-lived CBS sitcom. In the episode, Midler harasses the basketball player for courtside tickets to a Lakers game. After finally getting him to cave, she accidentally injures his finger.

“She dislocated my pinky,” he says in the clip before the episode flashes forward, showing Bryant on the bench from the injury.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians, 2009

Bryant appeared on the hit reality series when he attended Khloé Kardashian and Lamar Odom’s televised wedding. The basketball player was seen walking in with his wife, Vanessa Bryant.

Bryant and Odom played alongside each other for several seasons as members of the Lakers, and the pair won the 2009 and 2010 NBA championship together with the team.

Kardashian reacted to Bryant’s death on Twitter, writing that her “heart hurts.”

Modern Family, 2010

Gearing up for a big game, Bryant encounters the Dunphy family in an episode from the hit ABC sitcom.

“What can I do for you?” he asks after seeing Phil Dunphy, Alex Dunphy, Gloria Pritchett and Manny Delgado calling his name.

“Do you like being a basketball player?” asks Phil, to Bryant’s confusion. “I choked. I didn’t think you’d look up here at me.”

“A little preparation next time,” the basketball says before running on the court. “It’s a mental game.”

Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet also paid tribute to Bryant on social media, sharing a screengrab of a Twitter notification he received after the basketball player sent him a direct message.

“I saved this notification in 2013. Kobe had come to set and watched us shoot Modern Family,” he wrote. “He said he woke up and wanted to watch some comedy, so he came and watched us rehearse and shoot scenes. Later when he was leaving, I asked him what made him decide to come to watch us. He said, ‘because you guys are the best and last year, you told me to stop by sometime.’ I about lost my marbles. I have no idea if that was true, but I do know I did tell him to stop by sometime. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of the families affected by this awful tragedy.”

Jalen vs. Everybody, 2017

One of Bryant’s last acting credits was in the TV movie, Jalen vs. Everybody. The film followed former NBA star and TV personality Jalen Rose as he juggled his career responsibilities with the challenges of being a single dad.

In his cameo, Bryant makes a subtle brag about his 81-point scoring record.

When the waiter asks him how many olives he wants in his martini, Bryant says “81” before joking, “No I’m just playing, just two.”

Bryant also made appearances on Deal or No Deal, The Insider, Rome Is Burning, On the Money, Ridiculousness and more. He is survived by Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.