The helicopter crash that killed the NBA superstar and his 13-year-old daughter was the lead story on the News at Ten on Sunday.
As the piece reflected on the former LA Laker’s prestigious career, the report featured James in action rather than Bryant.
James currently plays for the Lakers, and this weekend overtook Bryant, who retired in 2016, as the third highest all-time NBA points scorer.
An on-air apology for the error came later in the broadcast and Paul Royall, editor of the BBC News Ten, took to Twitter to say “human error” was the reason for falling below “our usual standards”.
He wrote: “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.”
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, died alongside his daughter Gianna in the incident in California on Sunday morning.
Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people, including the pilot, had died in the crash but was awaiting the coroner’s report before confirming any identities as it would be “inappropriate” to do so.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: “The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.
“But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.
“We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organisation and the entire sports world.”
Bryant, born in Philadelphia in 1978, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to appear in the NBA and spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
He was drafted in 1996 by the Charlotte Hornets at number 13, but was quickly traded to the Lakers where he would go on to become an 18-time NBA All-Star.
Alongside Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant helped the Lakers win three NBA championships in a row between 2000 and 2002. It is a feat that has not been matched since, with the Golden State Warriors losing in last year’s finals having won two in a row.