Early life and high school career
Chandler was born to Frank Chandler and Vernie Threadgill, though he did not meet his father Frank until later in his life.He grew up in a family farm in Hanford, California, just south of Fresno, California. Chandler began playing basketball at three years old on a basket Chandler's grandfather, Cleotis, fixed on a tree. Chandler grew up doing farm work such as milking cows, slopping pigs, and cultivating crops. At nine years old Chandler and his mother moved to San Bernardino, California; he was already nearly six feet tall. As a child Chandler was teased because of his height; children on his school basketball team joked that he was older than he really was, and that he had been left back several times in school.
Chandler and his family then moved to Compton, California, where he enrolled at Dominguez High School, a school known for its athletics, producing basketball players such as Dennis Johnson and Cedric Ceballos. In his freshman year, Chandler made the varsity team and played with future NBA player Tayshaun Prince, who was then a senior. With the Dominguez Dons, Chandler became a teenage sensation; current players such as DeMar DeRozan watched him play and claimed "he was like Shaq". Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings, who was a ball boy for Dominguez at the time, said, "You'd see the girls around Tyson, the Escalade he drove, and you wanted to be like him," Chandler earned accolades from Parade Magazine and USA Today, and was selected to the McDonald's High School All-America Team. As a freshman, he was profiled on current affairs TV program 60 Minutes.
In his junior year, Chandler averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks. In his senior year, Chandler led Dominguez to a state championship and a 31-4 record, averaging 26 points, 15 boards, and 8 blocks a game. Chandler was recruited by several universities and considered UCLA, Arizona, Syracuse, Memphis, Kentucky and Michigan. Chandler then declared for the 2001 NBA Draft as a prep-to-pro
Chicago Bulls (2001–2006)
Tyson Chandler was selected 2nd overall by the Los Angeles Clippers, who immediately traded his rights to the Chicago Bulls for former NBA Rookie of the Year Award recipient Elton Brand. The Bulls intended to pair Chandler with fellow high school phenomenon Eddy Curry in the front court. However, while both players had stretches of success during their time with the Bulls, they rarely coincided. In Chandler's case, back problems were a recurring issue throughout his career, particularly during the 2003–04 season. During the early part of his career, Chandler feuded with Brendan Haywood of the Washington Wizards and Amar'e Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns. Later, although the feuds became less frequent, Chandler struggled with foul trouble, which limited his playing time.
Chandler also played a major role in the resurgent Bulls' playoff run in the 2004–05 season. Finding a role as a fourth-quarter defensive specialist, with notable game-saving blocks against stars like Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony, he was rewarded with a long-term deal to remain with the Chicago Bulls for the next six years, reportedly worth close to $63 million. With Curry's departure after the 2004–05 season, Chandler became the last member of the Bulls left from the Jerry Krause era.
During the 2005–2006 season, Chandler's biggest impact was on defense, but he struggled again with foul problems and averaged only 5.3 points per game. Due in part to his sub-par playoff performance and the Bulls' signing of four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace in the off-season after the 2005–2006 season, Bulls GM John Paxson began to consider moving Chandler. On July 5, 2006, the Bulls and the Hornets verbally agreed to a trade that would send Chandler to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for J.R. Smith and P.J. Brown. The deal was finalized the following week.
New Orleans Hornets (2006-2009)
In his first year in New Orleans, Chandler had a breakout season in 2006–2007, averaging 9.5 ppg and 12.4 rpg to go with 1.8 bpg.
Chandler followed that up with an even better season where he put up 11.7 points and 11.8 rebounds a game and led the league in offensive rebounding. His defense, rebounding and the ability to connect with Chris Paul on the Crescent City Connection (Name for their alleyoop pass) allowed the Hornets to claim the 2007–08 Southwest division for the first time ever with 56 wins. Chandler played well in the playoffs and defended Tim Duncan valiantly but in the end the Hornets lost a heartbreaking Game 7 where Chandler limited Duncan to 5–17 shooting.
In 197 regular season games with the Hornets franchise, Chandler averaged 10.2 ppg, 11.3 rpg and 1.4 bpg, while shooting 61.1% from the field.
On February 17, 2009, Chandler was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith and the rights to DeVon Hardin. However, he failed the physical because of a toe injury, and one day later, the Thunder announced that they rescinded the trade. Coincidentally, the doctor in Oklahoma City who failed Chandler on the physical was the same doctor who had performed corrective surgery on the toe two years earlier
New York Knicks (2011–present)
On December 9, 2011, Chandler announced that he agreed to terms on a four-year contract with the New York Knicks worth $58 million. He was officially acquired by the Knicks in a three-team sign-and-trade. On Opening Day, Christmas 2011, Chandler finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 6 blocks in a 106–104 win over the Boston Celtics.
Chandler finished the regular season with a 67.9% field goal percentage, the third highest in NBA history, exceeded only by Wilt Chamberlain in 1967 (68.26%) and 1973 (72.7%). He won the 2012 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award with 45 first place votes and 311 points overall, ahead of Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder with 41 first place votes and 294 votes, and became the first ever Knick to win the award.
In May 2012, Chandler was named second team All-Defensive behind Ibaka and Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, who made first-team All-Defensive. Although Chandler was voted Defensive Player of the Year by the press, the All-Defensive Team is chosen by the league's 30 head coaches (who cannot vote for their own players). And while his 13 first-team votes and 36 overall points were more than the totals for first-team selections Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, Howard received 41 points with 16 first-team votes, and only one center can be named to the team.
During the 2012-13 season, Chandler was named a reserve for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game. It was the first All-Star selection of his career. In February, Chandler recorded 20 rebounds in three straight games, becoming the first Knick to do so since Willis Reed in December 1969.[ Chandler had 7 points and 8 rebounds at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.
On February 27, 2013, Chandler recorded a career-high 28 rebounds, including 13 in the first quarter, in a 109-105 victory over the Golden State Warriors