Anthony Hamilton says the NBA wanted a pre-screening of his All-Star game National Anthem performance -- most likely to avoid another Fergie-ish disaster.
Anthony came on "TMZ Live" to break down the reasons why he sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" the way he did -- which got rave reviews Sunday night ahead of the tip-off. AH says Colin Kaepernick actually played a role in how he arranged it.
We also asked him about the elephant in the room -- his predecessor's widely mocked version from last year. He says the league had some specific guidelines, including getting a preview of his rehearsals for the gig.
Turns out the NBA's got good taste in music ... because Anthony won over the crowd in Charlotte -- his hometown, BTW -- and also everyone watching at home ... based on the immediate reaction on social media.
As for Fergie -- turns out she was watching too. She's clearly over the shell shock of her All-Star performance, and actually reached out to Anthony with some words of encouragement.