In the first episode of the fourth season – released on 27 May – McLaughlin’s character Lucas Sinclair is shown as a new member of Hawkins High’s basketball team.
This week Netflix confirmed that Lucas’ jersey number is a nod to the late NBA Lakers player.
“The #8 jersey Lucas wears is a nod to Kobe Bryant’s first jersey number. Caleb McLaughlin is a huge fan and had the idea to pay tribute to Kobe through his character’s jersey,” the streamer tweeted.
For the first ten years as a Laker, Bryant wore number eight, before changing to number 24 at the beginning of the 2006 season.
Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others.
Aside from acting, McLaughlin has played basketball for years, even appearing in the 2018 All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game.
In other Stranger Things news, producer Shawn Levy recently addressed fan theories about Will Byer’s (Noah Schnapp) sexuality.
Speaking in an interview, he said: “Without getting into where we go later in season four [Volume II], I guess I’ll just say that there aren’t many accidents on Stranger Things.”
“There is clear intention and strategy and real thought given to each and every character,” Levy continued. “So, if you came away from Volume I feeling those bread crumbs of plot and character, it’s probably no accident.”
The first part of Stranger Things season four is available to stream on Netflix now. Read The Independent’s review here.