Last month, the rapper faced backlash after referring to slavery as “a choice” in an interview with TMZ — a comment that spurred a Donald Glover-starring Saturday Night Live skit as well as statements from multiple angry fellow celebrities, one being Bryant.
The NBA legend spoke with high school students at We Rise LA over the weekend, an event dedicated to inspiring future generations.
In a video posted by TMZ, Bryant gave his two cents about West’s opinions during a Q&A session.
“I’m sure [I felt] the way everybody else here in this room feels,” Bryant admitted when a student asked about his response to the slavery comment in particular. “‘The hell are you talking about?’ I think that was my reaction as is everybody else’s reaction.”
Bryant continued, “The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say. That’s the beautiful part about living in a democracy. Conversely, you have to take the responses that come after that as well.”
The athlete explained his theory that entertainers like Ye are “always in a state of growth,” challenging themselves and frequently questioning their own opinions. However, in this case, Bryant’s opinion is firm: “Completely disagree.”
This article was originally published on Billboard.