BBC stung by 'over 100 complaints' after mistaking LeBron James for Kobe Bryant

The BBC has released a statement after receiving a number of complaints for mistakenly airing LeBron James images while it paid a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.

The basketball legend was killed aged 41 in a helicopter crash on Sunday, 26 January; his 13-year-old daughter Gianna also died in the crash, which took the lives of all nine people on board.

Kobe and Gianna were on their way to Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, where Gianna was following in the footsteps of her LA Lakers father and attending basketball practice.

News programmes worldwide were devoted to the tragedy – however, BBC News came under fire for showing footage of fellow basketball player LeBron in their tribute package.

Following a picture of Kobe and Gianna, the Sunday night News At Ten showed footage of LeBron beating Kobe’s career points tally, to become the third-highest scoring player in the NBA.

And while the BBC apologised both on-air and online at the time, it has since released a statement explaining how the incident unfolded.

The number of complaints haven’t been revealed, although Metro.co.uk understands it has received more than 100 from viewers.

The news organisation explained that because of a ‘last-minute’ change and a ‘tight deadline’ it was unable to carry out their usual checks before they went to air.

The statement read: ‘There was a question mark over whether some of the pictures of Kobe Bryant the production team had been using were subject to rights restrictions (and couldn’t be used on air by the BBC) and so the team needed to make a last-minute change.

‘Unfortunately, when they searched for alternative images the story which came up was one which marked LeBron James’ achievement in surpassing Kobe Bryant’s points record which showed pictures of LeBron James rather than Kobe Bryant himself. These were the pictures the team used.’


It continued: ‘The tight deadline meant that the report was broadcast without the usual pre-transmission checks.

‘The newsreader apologised at the end of the bulletin and the Editor has also accepted this was a mistake which fell below our usual standards.’

It follows after the BBC also received more than 100 complaints after they gave ‘too much coverage’ over the death of Kobe.

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