Melo apologizes for role in Garden melee

A day after decking the Knicks' Mardy Collins during a Madison Square Garden brawl in which 10 players were ejected, NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony offered an apology for his actions.

"Last night's altercation with the Knicks escalated further than it should have," Anthony said in a statement released Sunday. "I take full responsibility for my actions in the matter. In the heat of the moment I let my emotions get the best of me. I apologize to the fans, the Denver Nuggets, the NBA, my mother, and my family for the embarrassment I have caused them. I ask you all for your forgiveness.

"I also want to make a personal apology to Mardy Collins and his family. My actions were inexcusable, and I am sorry for making this an even more embarrassing situation.

"What makes this all the more painful is that this was one of the biggest weeks of my life. I just realized one of my biggest dreams when we opened the Youth Center in Baltimore that bares my name. To see the community excited and hundreds of kids smiling was an incredible feeling. Now the thought of thousands of kids seeing this incident on TV pains me. This is not the example I want to set.

"It's my hope that we work to move forward from this event, and never let something like this happen again."

The NBA is expected to hand down punishments for the fight on Monday. Suspensions are likely for Anthony and the other players involved in escalating the melee.