Anthony Hamilton I Ran My All-Star Anthem by the NBA ... I Got the Green Light!!!

2/18/2019 1:31 PM PST

Anthony Hamilton Says NBA Wanted No Surprises on National Anthem Rendition

EXCLUSIVE

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.

Check out his explanation ... it's interesting, especially now that Kap has settled with the NFL.

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.