Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
When the Houston Rockets were in town earlier this week, former Knick Tyson Chandler shared a story that showed a different side of the controversial owner.
In 2014, Chandler's mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. Chandler said doctors believed she had three-to-six months to live. As you'd imagine, Chandler was stunned when he first learned of the diagnosis.
"They (initially) thought she had the flu," he said.
Chandler kept the news private, sharing it with coaches, teammates and other Knicks staffers. When Dolan learned of Chandler's mother's illness, he offered the center his personal plane so Chandler could fly to Los Angeles to visit his mother, Vernie Threadgill, as often as possible.
"Basically, after every game, I would leave, go to the West Coast in LA, be with her in the hospital, sleep there, sleep with her. And fly back to New York and then play," said Chandler, the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year. "…. I did that the whole end of the season."
The gesture meant a great deal to Chandler. Chandler would travel with his family to Los Angeles for visits with his mother, who died in 2016.
"I got nothing but respect for him," Chandler said last Monday, before the controversy between Dolan and Lee escalated. "He stepped up and it took a lot of weight off of me, honestly. So I'm very appreciative for him in that moment, the way he stepped up."
Chandler knows that Dolan has drawn plenty of criticism during his tenure as Knicks owner. And he wasn't telling his story last Monday as a defense of Dolan. He was responding to a reporter's question about the circumstances. But Chandler's impression of the owner is different than the one that's often portrayed publicly.
"People have their opinions. They have their opinions about me, it just depends on when you catch me," Chandler said with a smile. "For me, I hear everything about him, but that has nothing to do with me. If somebody comes to me and asks me, I say he's a great dude. He looked out for me in a time of need. So that's the kind of stuff people don't hear about. They just hear the other s--t."