Amar'e Stoudemire says his comments about not wanting a gay teammate in his locker room were SUPPOSED to be "taken as jokes" ... and he's sorry for offending the LGBT community.
"I want to apologize for my offensive comments against the LGBT community. These remarks were taken from a larger interview where a reporter was asking me hypothetical questions, and all my answers had a comedic undertone."
As we previously reported, Stoudemire -- who's playing pro basketball in Israel -- told a local media outlet he would "shower across the street" if he found out he had a gay teammate.
"The answers I gave were meant to be taken as jokes & I am deeply sorry for offending anyone."
Stoudemire continues ... "I am open to creating a dialogue to assist the fight the LGBT community encounters daily and will continue to focus on playing basketball."