View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
January 27, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 8:51am

BBC sorry for ‘human error’ in report on basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s death that showed wrong player

By Freddy Mayhew

The BBC has apologised after it wrongly used images of basketball star LeBron James in a report on the death of giant of the game Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash just outside Los Angeles, California, yesterday which also claimed the lives of his teenage daughter Gianna and several others.

The news broke late in the evening in the UK following reports in the US and was covered at the top of the BBC News at Ten.

During its report, the BBC mistakenly showed footage of James on court playing for the LA Lakers, whom he joined in 2018. Bryant spent his entire 20-year career at the famous team and retired in 2016.

LeBron James, left, and Kobe Bryant. Pictures: Reuters

The error was spotted by a number of people, including Labour MP David Lammy.

He tweeted: “Kobe Bryant and LeBron James don’t even look similar. If the BBC hired more black producers and editors, appalling mistakes like this simply would not happen.”

Huffpost UK journalist Nadine White also tweeted: “Deeply unfortunate mix up from BBC. They got two big, Black men confused and featured Lebron James instead of late Kobe Bryant in this news segment…”

The error is particularly embarrassing given players’ names are on the back of their vest tops and James’ can clearly be seen in the report.

Bryant’s final tweet was one of praise for James, who he said was “continuing to move the game forward”.

The BBC apologised on air for the mistake and BBC News at Ten editor Paul Royall has since tweeted an apology.

He said: “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.”

The BBC has made a number of recent hires as part of a diversity drive, including head of creative diversity June Sarpong and head of workforce diversity Anne Foster.

Picture: Reuters/Monica Almeida

Topics in this article :

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network