The BBC is apologizing for airing highlights of LeBron James during a report on the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died along with his teenage daughter in a weekend helicopter crash.
"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," wrote BBC News at 10 editor Paul Royall on Sunday night.
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.— Paul Royall (@paulroyall) January 26, 2020
"In our coverage of the death of Kobe Bryant, in one section of the report, we mistakenly showed pictures of another basketball player, LeBron James ... we do apologize for the error,” said co-anchor Reeta Chakrabarti on air later in the broadcast after the error went viral on social media.
Matthew Champion, deputy world news editor for BuzzFeed News in London, first flagged the error.
"I genuinely cannot believe that the actual BBC News at 10 just did this," wrote Champion.
I genuinely cannot believe that the actual BBC News at 10 just did this pic.twitter.com/n6csMV9OOG— Matthew Champion (@matthewchampion) January 26, 2020
Champion shared the report in question on his Twitter feed, with the clip being viewed more than 4 million times.
The backlash on social media was swift with emotions running high around Bryant's death dominating the conversation.
A tribute to Kobe Bryant from the BBC used footage of Lebron James because fuck checking the name on the back of a jersey. All the bullshit I've seen today is why I am utterly ashamed of my profession. There are no standards anymore. pic.twitter.com/C0HD9HmAjH— Richard Lewis (@RLewisReports) January 26, 2020
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. This only adds to our collective grief at this time. Has a correction and apology been issued yet? Shame. pic.twitter.com/jCUejPKWc4— Nadine White (@Nadine_Writes) January 26, 2020
BBC video editor scrambled to get stock footage of Kobe Bryant and picked out LeBron James footage instead. I bet this happened because James passed Kobe Bryant for third on the all-time NBA scoring list last night, so it would have been freshly tagged. Still, a rookie mistake https://t.co/6GIJOgF6bp— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) January 26, 2020
James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 after winning championships in Miami and Cleveland.
Bryant, an NBA great and winner of five championships, joined the Lakers out of high school in 1996. He retired in 2016, before James joined the team.
James passed Bryant for third on the league's all-time scoring list on Saturday.