BBC facing backlash for showing LeBron James footage during tribute to Kobe Bryant

27 January 2020, 08:45

Kobe Bryant (R) and LeBron James (L) during Lakers v Cavaliers game in 2009
Kobe Bryant (R) and LeBron James (L) during Lakers v Cavaliers game in 2009. Picture: Getty

By Matt Drake

The BBC was facing a backlash today after playing footage of LeBron James while reporting on the sudden death of NBA star Kobe Bryant.

Mr Bryant, 41, considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, was killed alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in southern California.

The death of the former Los Angeles Lakers star has devastated fans around the world. But they were shocked when they saw a segment on BBC's News At Ten playing footage of the wrong Lakers player.

One Twitter user said: "Who cut this????? BBC news using footage of Lebron James instead of Kobe Bryant in their obit!!!!! IT EVEN SAYS JAMES ON HIS SHIRT.”

Another said: "See that BBC News played pictures of LeBron James during the Kobe Byrant report, instead of, you know, Kobe Bryant."

Editor of BBC News at Six and Ten Paul Royall apologised for the mistake and blamed human error.

He tweeted: "In tonight’s coverage of the death of Kobe Bryant on BBCNewsTen we mistakenly used pictures of LeBron James in one section of the report.

“We apologise for this human error which fell below our usual standards on the programme.”

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and their three other daughters. The five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic champion was one of the highest-profile sporting figures in the US.

The helicopter crashed in the hills above Calabasas, near Los Angeles on Sunday. The cause of the crash is under investigation.