Tyson Chandler is etched in our minds as "a Mav" even though spent just two (non-consecutive) seasons as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
It's comforting somehow, though, that he seems to feel about his time here the same way we feel about his time here - and that he feels for Dirk Nowitzki what we feel for Dirk Nowitzki.
"To me personally, it’s hard really to put into words,'' Chandler told TheSmokingCuban when asked about his relationship with Dirk. "Just like a brother, inspiration, teacher, I learned so much from him watching him. Stuff that he doesn’t even know. Things that I have picked up in my time here. Him being the ultimate competitor, but not only that he changed the game.
There is a generation coming up whether it is Porzingis, Dragan, that wants to be just like Dirk. That grew up watching him, idolizing him. Trying to patent their game after him and see if they can take it to the next level with their twist on what he created.''
Chandler noted that Dirk's impact is wide -- it's "not only what he means to me, but what he means to the game, the city of Dallas,'' he said -- and that it's foundation is his brilliance in that magical Mavs title season.
"I have never seen that level of basketball in my life in that 2010-11 run,'' TY said of Dirk, who during those playoffs averaged 27.7 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 48.5 percent from the field including 46 percent from 3-point range. "I have never seen a player play at that level. To see how locked in and focused he was. As an athlete and competitor, I will be forever indebted to him and I will love him forever because he helped me reach my ultimate goal as an athlete winning a championship.
This conversation, again, happened before Thursday's Suns-at-Mavs game, and featured Tyson jokingly promising he was "looking forward to kicking (starting center Dirk's) ass tonight. (Which indeed Phoenix did do, as you can review here in my Andrew Bogut-trade-talk column and here in Mavs Donuts). I can’t wait for his ass to be lined up beside me. Because that's what you do to your brother, you play your hardest against your brother. At the end of the day I love him. I loved competing against him my whole career before we were teammates because he is a special player. He’s one of those players you get up for. Now it just means that much more. I’m hoping he gets to 20 (seasons) because I know that was a goal of his, I’d like to see him finish his legacy the right way. Whatever he does…he’s given the game his everything.
"He can call me any time for anything,'' Tyson Chandler said of Dirk Nowitzki. "The only (way) I can describe it as, is 'brothers.'"