As the Knicks gear up to begin a very promising 2013 season, their reigning defensive player of the year proves that he can also be the centerpiece off-the-court, as well. Tyson Chandler has been exploring his photogenic side for quite some time and recently held an exhibit of his photography for friends, family, and teammates.
EBONY was on hand to speak with a few of the Knicks players who attended the event, including Chandler himself. The players spoke briefly about 30-year old center’s passion away from the court, as well as the team’s outlook for the 2013 season.
EBONY: How long has this been a hobby of yours?
TC: Roughly, I’d say over the course of four to five years. I’ve gotten more serious about it with each passing year. I honestly think that each object and/or landscape has a story within itself and I enjoy capturing it.
EBONY: Is this something you’d pursue more seriously after retirement?
TC: Absolutely, because I definitely enjoy it and it’s for a good cause. All of the proceeds are going to UNICEF, so this [showcase] may be a yearly thing.
A few of Tyson’s teammates also expressed their support for his exploration of creativity:
Baron Davis: I think its dope. He’s an incredible individual. To be able to travel the world -- he has a real artistic vibe and flavor. He really has an eye for photography and it inspires us all.
Marcus Camby: I think it’s good and he’s doing a lot with it. He’s also been getting harassed for the ESPN shoot (laughs), but he’s doing this for a good cause, so he’s getting all my support.
JR Smith: I think it’s great. We’ve got people transferring to other aspects of life. We’ve got a few guys into fashion, a guy into photography and other guys doing a few things. I think it’s great and shows our balance as a team.
Chandler's teammates respect his craft so much, that two of the more fashion-forward members of the team weighed in on whether or not they’d allow him to shoot them for a future photo-shoot.
JR Smith: Most definitely; he’d get the best angles being 7ft tall, so he’d be one of my top photographers. We saw him taking pictures of the team last year, so we all really respect what he’s doing.
Amare Stoudemire: As long as it’s not for an ESPN 'body' issue (laughs)!
While Chandler may be exploring his passion, his mind hasn’t wandered far from the court at all. “I think it’s going to be a great season. We’ve got a lot of young talent mixed with great vets, so it should be a good one,” he said. Several teammates and coaches on hand echoed the Knicks big man. “We’ve got a veteran team with a lot of guys that have been through the wars and know what it’s all about,” said assistant coach Herb Williams. “Having guys that have been through the trenches is very big in our league, so the key is staying healthy and getting on the same page with all of our new people.”
One of the many new faces in New York blue and orange is Marcus Camby. In an offseason trade, Camby joined the Knicks for his second tour of duty. The 38-year old was a member of the 1999 Eastern Conference Champion team that fell to the San Antonio Spurs in the finals. When asked about the possibility of reaching that feat once again, Camby emphatically stated “Championship or nothing!” The former UMass standout acknowledged the expectations of playing in New York City and anything less than a title would be unacceptable. “We play for championships here in New York; and with the team we have assembled, especially in our bigs – Tyson, Myself, Amare, and hopefully Rasheed, along with Melo. I like our team and I like our depth.”
Although the Knicks may have added much needed depth to their roster, they surely weren’t the only team making moves in the offseason. Amare Stoudemire touched on the newfound competition that awaits a potential run towards a title. “It’s gonna be a great year for us. We’ve been playing ball together for a while now, and everything looks great. It’s hard to predict how the season will go, especially considering Howard and Nash joining the Lakers, Ray Allen joining Miami, but us landing J.Kidd and a few others will make it an interesting year.”
If the Knicks can maintain this team camaraderie and somehow manage to stay healthy for a full 82 game season, they have a great chance at competing for a championship in 2013.
Steve Rivers has contributed to The Source, ESPN Rise and a host of other online publications. Follow him on Twitter: @TheKidSkoob.
Photos by Nicholas Delauney