Eric Balfour is a HUUUGE Lakers fan ... he's also a huge animal rights activist ... which is why the former "24" star was so devastated when he found out about a scary incident involving Nick Young and a dolphin.
The L.A. Lakers star has been joking around about the incident all week ... claiming a dolphin tried to kill him during one of those "ride the dolphins" experiences in Cabo San Lucas.
Balfour says he's glad Young survived -- but he's bummed out Young and Iggy Azalea decided to participate in the attraction in the first place.
"When people unknowingly go to those shows, what they're actually contributing to is a dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan where hundreds of dolphins are killed, captured, separated from their families, and we're trying to stop that because its pretty f**king uncool."
Balfour says he's giving Young a pass ... this time ... but says he should know better in the future.