Fat Joe tells TMZ Sports he WORSHIPS Anthony Mason -- and didn't mean to disrespect the late NBA star by identifying him as the victim in a legendary Biggie Smalls rap.
You know the backstory by now ... Fat Joe outed Mason last week as the Knick who was robbed at gunpoint by Biggie in "I Got a Story to Tell."
Mason's good friend and teammate Charles Oakley was PISSED about it, claiming Fat Joe threw unnecessary shade ... especially since Mason passed away last year.
But this weekend at a party for Floyd Mayweather's daughter, Fat Joe apologized ... sorta ... saying:
"I love Charles Oakley. I worship him. I worship Anthony Mason. Anyone who took it as disrespect, I'm sorry."
Well, since we know Oakley DID take it as disrespect ... you could call it an apology.
We're reaching out to Oakley to see if he accepts.