NBA fines Kobe Bryant $100,000 for on-air slur

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers sits on the bench after he is called for a technical foul at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers sits on the bench after he is called for a technical foul at Staples Center on April 12, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Harry How/Getty Images

The Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings last night 116-108 in what may be the Kings’ final game in the state capitol. The Lakers now move into the playoffs and NBA owners will decide whether the Kings should move to Anaheim.

Kobe Bryant scored 36 points last night on the heels of a $100,000 fine for a slur against a referee.

It happened in the third quarter of the Lakers’ win over the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center. Referee Bennie Adams had just hit Lakers star Kobe Bryant with a technical foul for complaining.

Bryant went out of the game for a few minutes – and while he was on the bench, he started mouthing off to and about Adams. The ref didn’t hear anything, but the TNT live microphone nearby did; a pair of “F words” – one a curse, one a homophobic slur – sort of like “bleeping bleep-it.” You can guess what Kobe said; anyone who watched the game already knows.

Once the story got out, Bryant issued a statement that he’d popped off out of “frustration” – and that his words “shouldn’t be taken literally.” Gay rights groups blistered him for the slur and demanded more than a statement that he didn’t mean “to offend anybody.”

They might not get more from Bryant – but the NBA will. League commissioner David Stern fined him $100,000. The news release announcing the fine included this from Stern: “Insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society.”

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