The 41-year-old, a five-time NBA champion, lived in Italy from the age of six to 13 while his father played professional basketball.
He developed a love of soccer there, but also witnessed racism first hand before moving back to the United States where he spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“It’s always education and understanding that racism is a thing that’s been a part of our culture for a while,” Bryant told CNN’s Andy Scholes at a Major League Soccer event in California.
“Even though now we’ve come such a long way but there’s still so much to be done and I think education is always the most important thing.”
“When I was growing up in Italy, I’ve obviously witnessed it first-hand going to certain soccer matches and things of that nature,” added Bryant.
“My parents have taught me and educated me on how to deal with those sorts of things.”
Bryant said the approach of a number of high-profile sports stars has contributed to how he handles racism.
“I think speaking up and taking a stand, a significant stand [is important],” he added.
“Looking at various muses that have handled things extremely well, from Jackie Robinson to Bill Russell and so forth and so on, so I think education is very important.”