Despite facing team adversity through much of the season, New York Knicks former All-Star center Tyson Chandler remains positive. After landing in Miami on Wednesday night for the team’s matchup against the Heat on Thursday, Chandler took the time to speak with Dime about a wide-range of subjects, including his involvement with the Skylanders: SWAP Force video game, to his interest in art and love of his family and of course, to issues in the Knicks’ locker room.
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Dime: Can you talk a little about your involvement with Skylanders: SWAP Force (a game that allows players to bring life to action figures)?
Tyson Chandler: I started playing the game with my kids. It’s one of the better games out there, you can swap characters and things like that â€“ it grabs their attention.
Dime: Speaking of video games, what are some of your other favorites?
TC: I don’t really play many sports games, you know, I haven’t played since I was younger.
Dime: What are some activities you enjoy when you aren’t playing basketball?
TC: I enjoy photography and painting–forms of art. I appreciate different facts and different pieces of art. I also love spending time with kids and my wife. One of my kids is into art; the other is into video games (laughs).
Dime: Obviously, the Knicks’ season hasn’t gone the way anyone expected. With essentially the same core of players, what’s the biggest difference from last season to this season?
TC: We do have the same core of players… but for whatever reason, it’s taking a while, we haven’t been able to come together. But for me, this season isn’t lost. It’s not over. We still have an opportunity to make a good run. We still have the same expectations for ourselves now that we did coming into the season.
Dime: Your numbers are a little down from last season. How are you feeling, physically and health-wise after an early season injury?
TC: I’m feeling great right now. Obviously, I dealt with some injuries in the beginning of the season and it took a while to get back to where I am now. I was restricted, as far as what I was able to do, but as of now, yeah, I’m feeling great.
Dime: Earlier this season, you made some comments about your displeasure with how the defensive schemes were being run. A couple of days later, coach Mike Woodson reportedly approached you about your comments. What exactly went on there?
TC: I guess anything you say, people are going to write about it, and say what they want to say about it. People are going to pick it apart and make it be something else. Coach and I got together to reassure what was taking place. You know, during games you are going to make adjustments.
Dime: As the anchor of the Knicks’ defense and former Defensive Player of the Year, do you feel those necessary adjustments have been made?
TC: I think everybody on the team has to show that responsibility. Defense is a team thing. No “one” individual is told to go out there and stop the entire team–that’s impossible. I just think it’s about putting your players in the best position to compete. And it’s important to work on your weaknesses.
Dime: Speaking of Woodson, there has been a lot of talk about an end to his tenure in New York because of the disappointing season. Does he have full locker room support?
TC: I think we all just have to stay together. That’s the only way we are going to get ourselves out of something like this. We still have the opportunity and a shot to make the playoffs.
Dime: Despite team struggles, Carmelo Anthony has been playing superstar-level basketball. Do you think he re-signs with the Knicks this summer or goes elsewhere?
TC: I don’t have a clue (laughs)… That’s an individual thing.
Dime: Who is the funniest player in the locker room?
TC: One of the younger guys. They just keep the locker room light. They’re young, energetic.
Dime: Who was your favorite player growing up?
TC: Probably Scottie Pippen. I loved watching him play.
Dime: What has been your most memorable moment as an NBA player?
TC: Winning a championship (Chandler was part of the 2011 Dallas Mavericks’ title team), the celebration afterward. The celebration in the locker room, just realizing everything you worked so hard for came true.
Dime: What about your most embarrassing moment as an NBA player?
TC: (laughs) I tend to try to forget those things. I’m pretty sure I have a lot of them.
Note: I brought up Chandler’s reverse dunk fail following this question. He chuckled and explained the play, but admitted it was confusing. In case you missed out, here it is:
Dime: There’s been a lot of talk and debate recently on the NBA’s “Mt. Rushmore” of greatest NBA players ever. Who is on your Mt. Rushmore?
TC: Umm… Let’s see… Magic (Johnson), Jordan (Michael Jordan), Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Russell.
Can the Knicks still make the playoffs?
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