For someone who grew up on a farm and learning how to play basketball with a hoop nailed to a tree, Tyson Chandler has had a pretty good professional career. It also helps being 6 feet tall when you’re not even a decade old. Standing out in high school, Chandler’s skills and dominating game grew very year. During his senior year he led his team to a state championship while averaging 26 points, 15 rebounds and 8 blocks. Highly recruited, he decided to forgo college and head straight to the NBA. Selected as the #2 pick in 2001 by the Los Angeles Clippers, right after Kwame Brown (yup remember that) and before Pau Gasol, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls. That is where he would lace up in Nike’s for the first time in the NBA and play for four seasons before being traded to the then-New Orleans Hornets.
Chandler’s first full season with the Hornets was his best as a professional by far. There, his defensive skills grew and paired up with Chris Paul creating the Crescent City Connection. He thrived with the Hornets and the potential he showed in high school came to the forefront. He would go on to average a double-double but his time there only lasted less than two seasons. As soon as he came in he was on the way out with a trip to the then-Charlotte Bobcats. But the stay there was short as well and beginning the start of 2010 he found himself in a Dallas Mavericks uniform. There is where the world really found out the player Tyson Chandler is.
He was a key part of the team throughout the season and gave them that defensive backstop the team needed. Becoming a fan favorite, he helped the team all year-long. Going into the Playoffs as the number three seed, Chandler’s physicality and defensive prowess helped the Mavericks take out a tough Trailblazer team, the Lakers, and the Thunder. Going into the Finals with the “Big Three,” the Mavericks would be a major underdog. However, Chandler was able to use his big body and instincts to protect the basket. In every game they won Chandler was a major contributor and had big plays. He would eventually raise the Larry O’Brien trophy with the team and earn a payday.
With the ring on his finger, he would take his talents to the New York Knicks for a four year deal and $58 million. It looked like his upward trend was continuing as he finished 2012 with a 67.9% field goal percentage and the Defensive Player of the Year award. During his New York days he would also be an All-Star player and part of Team USA during the Olympics. But as he had for most of his career he would be traded, and soon headed back to the Dallas Mavericks. In rejoining his old team the fan base was excited. He was still a key part of their team, especially on the defensive side, however, during the offseason he would head to the Phoenix Suns to become a team leader and key veteran component. Happy 33rd big man, keep it going.