NBA officials issued a statement saying the incident during Tuesday's 102-93 Lakers victory over San Antonio was "offensive and inexcusable."
The superstar guard and the league faced mounting criticism a day after his words, aimed at referee Bennie Adams, were caught on national television.
Bryant was angry and frustrated after being slapped with his 15th technical foul of the season, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization Human Rights Campaign called the player's outburst "a disgrace" and added: "Bryant and the Lakers have a responsibility to speak up on this issue immediately. America is watching."
Bryant issued a statement Wednesday saying he didn't mean any offense to homosexuals.
"What I said last night should not be taken literally," the statement said. "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."