dwyane wade

Originally published in SLAM 159

It was four hours until gametime, and Tyson Chandler had some calls to make. Pre-game naptime was sacred but this couldn’t wait. “My room, 20 minutes,” he told his teammates, in a tone that left no doubt this was mandatory. “This isn’t room service, JR,” he added at the end of one call to…well, you know who.

When everyone finally straggled in, Chandler stood up. “Listen, guys. I know we’ve been doing better on defense this year. And that’s great. But unless I was hallucinating more than I thought, we lost the last game by 30. THIRTY! I know you guys trust me to guard the rim, but when I’m suffering, you have to step up.”

Chandler looked around the room to see whether his words were sinking in. All signs pointed to no. “OK, well, I’m feeling better today, but mark my words—I’m not just here to clean up your messes. I’m not asking you to do anything special, just make sure I don’t get on a poster. OK? OK???” Silence.

Russ Bengtson