JERUSALEM (CBSNewYork/AP) — Former Knick Amar’e Stoudemire has apologized for telling an Israeli website that he would avoid a gay teammate.

Stoudemire told Walla Sport when asked about the possibility of having a gay teammate: “I’m going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner, and I’m going to take a different route to the gym.”

When asked if he was joking, he said, “There’s always a truth within a joke.”

In a statement released Thursday by his current team, Israel’s Hapoel Jerusalem, Stoudemire, 34, said the questions were “hypothetical” and all his answers had “a comedic undertone.” He said he’s “deeply sorry for offending anyone” and he’s “open to creating a dialogue to assist the fight the LGBT community encounters daily.”

Stoudemire’s comments drew criticism from gay former NBA players Jason Collins and John Amaechi.

“His homophobic comments have no place in sport or in our society,” tweeted Collins, who played for the Nets.

“These are serious times, and we need serious people to lead important conversations, not petulant man-children spouting puerile prejudice,” Amaechi told TMZ.

Amaechi added that someone should tell Stoudemire to “stop flattering himself.”

When Stoudemire played for the Knicks in 2012, he was fined $50,000 by the NBA after tweeting a gay slur at a fan.

Stoudemire announced his retirement from the NBA last July, signing a one-day contract to retire as a Knick. A week later, however, he signed a two-year deal with Hapoel Jerusalem, a team he co-owns.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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