After the Black Mamba clearly hurled the epithet at an official, Joakim Noah uttered the exact same phrase to a Miami Heat fan that cost Bryant $100,000.
And despite that massive fine and a serious backlash from the gay, lesbian and transgender community, Noah threw his inhibition out the window and said the two words that he really shouldn't have.
And these two cases are clearly ones that aren't isolated. As The Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (via TMZ) points out, homophobia is becoming a serious problem in the NBA.
"Last month the NBA sent an important message about how such slurs fuel a climate of intolerance and are unacceptable. These anti-gay remarks, coming so soon after, demonstrate how much needs to be done."
They're right. Less than a week ago, Phoenix Suns president Rick Welts openly identified himself as a gay man and was embraced with open arms.
Afterwards, the team released a public service announcement stating anti-gay remarks have no place in the sport, but in a larger context, identified that they have no place anywhere, on or off the hardwood.
While Joakim Noah and Kobe Bryant issued apologies, their remarks shouldn't have been said in the first place.
In the NBA, the athletes are among the most visible in all of the professional sports on camera, and it's time that they stepped up and acted like professionals.
These athletes are role models for a large majority who watch the sport, and they need to realize that they're in the public sphere almost every hour of the day.
Nobody said being a professional athlete was easy. That's why these guys get millions of dollars to play a game.
It's time for the NBA to deliver a message to its players that needs no return phone call.