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Tyson Chandler: Olympic gold medalist, NBA Champ, #1 Dad

With their dad standing over seven feet tall, his shoulders looking like they were carved out of marble, Tyson Chandler’s kids could make a pretty compelling case for their dad being a true-to-life superhero. And we’d have to agree.

Since his high school days in Compton, Cali., the NBA champ and Olympic gold medalist has been known on the court for his work ethic and characteristic blend of toughness and defensive prowess. Off the court, he’s known for his sartorial acumen and a million-watt smile that can disarm even the biggest cynic. We chatted with him recently about what it was like to grow up in the spotlight and what motivates his game and his style. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jack Black: Your career began when you were quite young. What was it like to grow up in the spotlight?

Tyson Chandler: I became a household name when I was really young, so people have seen me grow up and go through a lot of life transitions. I’ve gone from being a high school kid to an NBA player to a husband and now a father. And all of it has happened in the public eye.

JB: Which athletes did you look up to most when you were young?

  • Deion Sanders — I loved the excitement he brought to the game and how he always looked like he was having fun.
  • Jerry Rice — I loved his professionalism and his approach to the game.
  • Mike Tyson — I loved that his fights could end at any moment.
  • Randy Moss

JB: You won the NBA championship with the Mavs in 2011. What was that like? Do you have a favorite memory from that game?

TC: It was accomplishing a life-long dream—all I ever wanted since I started playing the game. My favorite memory was seeing the ropes come out as the [series-clenching] game was winding down, knowing that we were about to win the championship and the trophy was about to come out.

JB: What does an NBA champ and Olympic gold medalist have to look forward to in his career?

TC: I’d love to win another Defensive Player of the Year award.

JB: Any advice for young players who aspire to make it to the pros?

TC: Fall in love with your craft. Fall in love with whatever you’re trying to accomplish. You accomplish great things when you are locked in on a goal and can avoid distractions.

JB: Now for the tough questions. Have you always been interested in fashion? How do your grooming habits complement your style?

TC: I have always been interested in fashion, but I wasn’t able to dress the way I wanted to. It took a long time because of my size. It was very difficult to find [clothes that fit well]. During the season, I dress a little more rugged. I let my beard grow a little more to coincide with the winter. But in the summer, I am a little more clean-cut, closer shaven.

JB: How do you step up your look for a big night out or special occasion?

TC: My look varies on occasion. I like for a look to reflect my mood, so if I’m feeling very dapper, I’ll throw on a suit. If I feel more rugged, I’ll go with a more rugged, chic look.

JB: Lastly, we have to go for the shameless plug. What are your go-to Jack Black products?

TC: I love Turbo Wash® because it definitely gives you that really clean feeling. I also like the Cool Moisture Body Lotion, especially in [Arizona’s] dry climate.

 

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