Referee Bennie Adams was the recipient of the words. All signs are pointing to Adams not being gay, by the way, so Kobe was more off mark with his anger filled post-toddler tantrum slur than he was in the 4th Quarter of Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals.
Czar Stern quickly smacked Kobe with a $100,000 fine saying:
"Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable. While I’m fully aware that basketball is an emotional game, such a distasteful term should never be tolerated. … Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive or derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our game or society."
Kobe then went on to make what I call a "Star Apology". This is where the star's ego just won't let them admit that they are wrong and they first explain their side of the story and apologize only to "those who they may have offended." The Star Apology isn't a real apology. This is especially true in Kobe's case since it was a statement released through the Laker organization:
"What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do NOT reflect my feelings towards the gay and lesbian communities and were NOT meant to offend anyone"
(Please note that capitalizing the word "not" is meant as an inflection. DUH)
Kobe doesn't get it. He doesn't realize that he shouldn't be saying this word at any time. It's kind of like non-black people dropping the N-Bomb. We live in America and our culture says that if you use any of these words you are an asshole, even if you do apologize for your mistake pretty well. Period point blank. ASSHOLE. Well, Kobe didn't apologize well and I hope there's some techno songs written about Kobe where this slur of his can live on and not just "go away" like Kobe hopes it will.
His refusal to really apologize is indeed disturbing. Maybe he thinks that money (paying the $100K fine to the Czar) will make it all go away. It seemed to have worked before.