MIAMI -- Chicago Bulls centre Joakim Noah was fined US$50,000 on Monday for directing an anti-gay slur at a fan during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, and vowed to learn from the incident. The NBA released its decision hours after speaking with Noah, saying the fine was "for using a derogatory and offensive term from the bench." The fine is only half of what Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was assessed for shouting the same slur toward a referee last month, and the league said the discrepancy was because the sanction against Bryant was based on both what he said -- and who he said it to. "Kobes fine included discipline for verbal abuse of a game official," NBA spokesman Mark Broussard said. Noah and NBA officials met Monday morning. Noah said he emerged from that talk prepared to "pay the price" for what happened when he returned to the bench with two fouls midway through the first quarter of Sunday nights game against the Miami Heat. That price turned out to be 1.6 per cent of his roughly $3.1 million salary this season. Noah agreed to an extension last year, worth about $60 million through the 2015-16 season. Meanwhile, two major advocacy groups quickly called upon the league to both sanction Noah and help further educate players on the topic. "The fan said something that was disrespectful towards me," Noah said, about five hours before the fine was announced. "And I went back at him. Got it on camera. I dont want to hurt anybodys feelings. Anybody who knows me knows that Im not like that. Im an open-minded guy. I said the wrong thing and Im going to pay the consequences -- deal with the consequences -- like a man. I dont want to be a distraction to the team right now." Television cameras captured Noah saying an expletive, followed by the slur. Noah said he did not realize the gravity of the situation until he was questioned by reporters after the game Sunday, adding that he meant "no disrespect" to anyone. Bryant was fined $100,000 last month, and just last week, Phoenix Suns president and CEO Rick Welts revealed he was gay, a rare acknowledgement for someone holding a prominent position in mens sports. "We know what business we are in," Heat forward LeBron James said Monday. "Emotions get played. ... I dont think it was right what he said. But emotions do get said over the course of the game. We know theres going to be microphones. We know theres going to be cameras around. You just have to be cautious about what you say and just try to control your emotions as much as possible." The Heat won Sundays game 96-85, taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Miami. The Gay