The NBA has not publicly dealt with use of the N-word specifically but has reacted swiftly to incidents in which players have used homophobic slurs in recent seasons.
Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 in April 2011 after national television cameras caught him directing a homophobic slur at a referee. Bryant later conceded to an ESPN radio station in Los Angeles that his words were inappropriate.
In announcing the fine to Bryant, Stern also issued a statement condemning use of any distasteful language during games. A month later, Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 during the playoffs for directing a homophobic slur toward a fan.
"Kobe and everyone associated with the NBA know that insensitive and derogatory comments are not acceptable and have no place in our league," Stern said in a 2011 statement after the Bryant incident.