STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Did NBA star LeBron James endorse or sell Kobe Bryant tribute shirts? No, that's not true: A sponsored post on Facebook that includes a photo of James appearing to hold up a Bryant tribute shirt is digitally-altered, placing James' head on the body of someone else. Similar ads falsely implied that Los Angeles Laker Anthony Davisrio and actor Leonardo Dicaprio endorsed the shirt.
This is what social media users saw:
A similar ad used a digitally-altered photo of Los Angeles Laker Anthony Davis, making it appear that he also endorsed the Kobe tribute shirt:
This fake ad has actor Leonardo Dicaprio selling the Kobe shirts:
The company selling the shirts was taking advantage of the intense global interest following the helicopter crash that killed Byrant and eight others, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter. They died when their helicopter slammed into hills in Calabasas, California, on January 26, 2020.
The image used on their ads suggests that James, the Los Angeles Lakers star, had endorsed the shirts. However, it is a very poor attempt at photo editing. This was not lost on many Facebook users who saw it on their timeline:
It is unclear where the marketing company is based since their domain names are registered privately and its Facebook page offers no information.
The tragic death of Bryant has inspired other social media myths - misinformation that the family has said only adds to their pain - including these viral claims that Lead Stories debunked:
- Fake News: TMZ Informant NOT Charged With Murder of Kobe Bryant and Others
- Fake News: Video Footage Does NOT Show Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash
- Fake News: Police Did NOT Say When They Found Kobe's Body Kobe Was Hugging His Daughter Gianna
2020-02-04T00:44:22Z 2020-02-04T00:44:22Z4pPT Monday. Feb. 3, 2020 -- Adding Anthony Davis fake photo.