BBC apologizes for airing LeBron James footage in Kobe Bryant report

The BBC is apologizing for airing highlights of LeBron James during a report on the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died along with his teenage daughter in a weekend helicopter crash.

"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," wrote BBC News at 10 editor Paul Royall on Sunday night.

"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,” said co-anchor Reeta Chakrabarti on air later in the broadcast after the error went viral on social media.

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Matthew Champion, deputy world news editor for BuzzFeed News in London, first flagged the error.

"I genuinely cannot believe that the actual BBC News at 10 just did this," wrote Champion.

Champion shared the report in question on his Twitter feed, with the clip being viewed more than 4 million times.

The backlash on social media was swift with emotions running high around Bryant's death dominating the conversation.

James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 after winning championships in Miami and Cleveland.

Bryant, an NBA great and winner of five championships, joined the Lakers out of high school in 1996. He retired in 2016, before James joined the team.

James passed Bryant for third on the league's all-time scoring list on Saturday.