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

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.

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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”.

https://twitter.com/kobebryant/status/1221276426164269056?s=20

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

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