A US basketball player has been commended for voicing his disapproval at a fan’s use of the word “gay” as an insult.

NBA star, Kobe Bryant, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, was involved in a brief spat on Twitter, during which he stepped in to say using the word in that way was wrong.

After a fan tweeted the suggestion that he and Bryant “make out in bed”, another fan responded to say “you’re gay”.

In response, Bryant tweeted: “Just letting you know that using ‘your gay’ (sic) as a way to put someone down ain’t ok! #notcool delete that out ur vocab.”

After losing a game on Sunday, Bryant tweeted the advice to the fan in front of an audience of his 1.3 million followers.

In April 2011, Bryant used a slur against referee Bennie Adams, and was issued a $100,000 (£63,000) fine by the NBA.

He has now been commended, however, for having learned from his mistake, and most fans said he did the right thing by stepping in and tweeting his opinion on the matter.

When questioned last on Twitter by another fan about his own use of anti-gay slurs, he said: “Exactly! That wasn’t cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others.”

The issue of homophobia in professional sport in the US has been topical of late, and American football player and equal marriage advocate, Brendon Ayanbadejo, recently said that he hoped to start a positive dialogue about gay players in the NFL following anti-gay comments by fellow player, Chris Culliver.

Earlier that week, Chris Culliver, who is set to play for the San Francisco 49ers in this weekend’s Super Bowl said in an interview that he didn’t think there were any gay players on his team, and that they wouldn’t be welcome if there were.