Retired NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire apologized Wednesday for recent remarks taken to be anti-gay.
“I want to apologize for my offensive comments against the LGBT community,” Stoudemire said in a statement released by his current team, Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli Premier League. “These remarks were taken from a larger interview where a reporter was asking me hypothetical questions, and all my answers had a comedic undertone.”
In a recent interview with Israeli website Walla Sport, Stoudemire was asked how he would deal with an openly gay teammate. He answered:
“I’m going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner. And I’m going to drive — take a different route to the gym.”
Asked twice by a reporter whether he was joking, the six-time NBA All Star said, “I mean, there’s always a truth within a joke.”
On Tuesday, Walla Sport posted a video of several league players’ responses to their question about a hypothetical openly gay teammate, and all the others featured in the clip indicated they wouldn’t have a problem with him (although one unidentified player did add, “as long as he didn’t mess with me.”)
Stoudemire said in his statement: “The answers I gave were meant to be taken as jokes, and I am deeply sorry for offending anyone.”
Two days earlier, Stoudemire was given Israel’s Martin Luther King Jr. Award by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York and the State of Israel to those who “embody the spirit and ideals of Dr. King” and “promote diversity and tolerance,” according to a news release.
The basketball star and his wife run the Amar’e and Alexis Stoudemire Foundation, which supports at-risk youth around the world. He also has hosted multiple basketball youth camps in Israel, including one that aimed to fight terrorism and unite children in the Middle East.
In 2012, Stoudemire was fined $50,000 by the NBA for using an anti-gay slur in a tweet. He apologized in a statement, saying, “I am a huge supporter of civil rights for all people.”
March 2, 8:05 a.m.: This article was updated with a statement from Amar’e Stoudemire.
This article was originally published at 8:25 a.m. March 1.