New of Bryant’s death shocked the sports world, sending media into a frenzy to cover the news as it unfolded. When the BBC aired a package commemorating the life of Bryant, viewers saw footage of James as a voiceover listed Bryant’s accomplishments.
James passed Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash, for third place on the NBA’s career scoring list on Saturday night and footage from the game was used by the BBC during the report on Bryant's death. The voiceover did not explain to viewers why they were seeing the wrong Lakers legend.
Critics quickly condemned the BBC, with some taking to Twitter to bash the mix up.
“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,” HuffPost reporter Nadine White wrote.
The BBC apologized for the error as criticism poured in.
"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,” anchor Reeta Chakrabarti said on air.
BBC News editor Paul Royall added to the apology, tweeting that it was a “human error” that fell below the network’s “usual standards.”