Daniel "Boobie" Gibson tells TMZ ... he was just defending his wife's honor when he got into an altercation with a man at the Essence Music Festival earlier this month ... after the guy disrespected Keyshia Cole in a "profane way."
Gibson -- who played with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season -- just called in to "TMZ Live" to explain why he turned himself in to police in New Orleans today on 2nd degree battery charges.
Boobie says Keyshia was performing at the event ... when some guy approached her and spouted off some very "disrespectful" comments toward the singer.
Boobie says an altercation broke out and "safety was threatened" ... so Boobie says he "needed to take action."
Despite the allegations against him, Boobie says he did nothing wrong -- adding, "I have nothing to be ashamed of or hide."