Suns C Tyson Chandler back at practice after passing of his mother
PHOENIX — To say it’s been a tough year for Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler is an understatement of epic proportions.
Chandler was not with the Suns for their Nov. 8 matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers for “personal reasons,” something Chandler had been out of a few preseason games for as well.
It was revealed during head coach Earl Watson’s pregame talk with the media the following day that Chandler’s mom, Vernie Re Threadgill, had passed away from cancer and that he would not be with the team against the Detroit Pistons.
After missing one more game on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets, Chandler was back with the team Sunday for their game against the Golden State Warriors, but he remained inactive.
Chandler was at practice Tuesday before the team embarked to continue a six-game road trip.
“She battled her heart out,” Chandler said about his mother.
“My mother’s an inspiration. The doctors gave her four months (to live) when she was diagnosed.”
The 15-year veteran said it’s been a two-and-a-half year battle for his mother with colon cancer, and that in his final two months with the New York Knicks during the 2013-14 season, he was flying back-and-forth from New York to Los Angeles to be with his mother, sometimes getting back with the team right before the game to play.
“As sad as I am, and I gotta let myself go through the grieving process, I’m also proud and inspired by what she did and what she overcame,” Chandler said.
His mother’s funeral is on Saturday.
Chandler addressed why he turned down the opportunity to be traded, which Watson disclosed last week.
“Having seen these young players and seeing where the organization is, I wanted to be (a) part of change,” Chandler said. “To me, that’s just as satisfying as one of the top teams that know in their head that their competing for a championship, because, ultimately this team is going to be competing for a championship, so it’s about setting the seeds now and getting young players to understand the way you’re supposed to play.”
If the passing of his mother wasn’t enough for him to go through, Chandler also said he lost two of his cousins and his grandfather, who he said “was my father.”
One of his cousins was Markel Byrd, a sophomore safety for the University of New Mexico football team, who, when driving with his girlfriend to introduce her to his mother during the holiday break last year, had his car suffer a blowout on the highway. Byrd died instantly in the crash.
Chandler’s grandfather passed away earlier in the summer, meaning he’s lost both his father figure and mother in the past few months.
Despite all he’s been through, Chandler said he never thought about not playing basketball anymore.
“I need it. I need to be out here,” he said.
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