Brooklyn Nets forward Wilson Chandler recently announced that he will be sitting out rather than suiting up for the Orlando games.
Chandler explained why he won’t be playing next month when he appeared as a guest on The Court Vision podcast with Jameer Nelson and Ben Stinar.
“For me, personally, I think like the unknown of this whole COVID thing and just having a grandmother who’s 87 – she just turned 87 – and battling all types of illnesses and having young kids, I think it’s more important for me to be at home with my family and taking care of my family,” Chandler said. “So, that’s my biggest [reason] to stay home.
“And then if you throw in the whole social justice [aspect] and everything that’s going on over police brutality with the government and all that, I mean, it just makes it a bit more difficult.”
Like Chandler, a number of NBA players have opted out of playing because they wanted to spend time with their family (including Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley, Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza and Dallas Mavericks center Willie Cauley-Stein).
However, there’s a social-reform component to Chandler’s decision too. Some players believe that resuming play will distract from the Black Lives Matter movement, while others believe that they should play and take advantage of that huge platform. Chandler noted that there’s no wrong answer when discussing the best way to effect change.
“There’s no right or wrong way,” Chandler said. “Everybody has their own opinion on what’s going on and what they would do, so there’s no right or wrong answer. So, I respect everybody who’s going [to Orlando] and everybody who’s not going.
“We’ve always had different types of leaders in sports. You had guys who were overly talkative, who spoke their mind whenever, like Muhammad Ali, who didn’t go to Vietnam and fight in the war and decided to sit out and that spoke volumes. And you got guys who play by the rules and who go out there and play, but they’re going to use their platform before and after the games when they’re doing interviews and stuff. So, it’s kind of up to each player to kind of use their platform how they see fit.”
Chandler is currently in Brooklyn and he was going through the necessary steps to play next month before ultimately changing his mind.
“I was working out with the team and going through that whole protocol that the NBA has mandated, testing every other day and doing one-on-one workouts,” Chandler said. “But since I just announced the news that I wouldn’t be going to Orlando, now I’m about to stay home and be with my family.”
In addition to Chandler, Brooklyn will be without guard Kyrie Irving, forward Kevin Durant and center DeAndre Jordan in Orlando. Irving and Durant are recovering from injuries and Jordan tested positive for COVID-19 recently. Guard Spencer Dinwiddie has also tested positive for COVID-19, putting his availability in question too.
The Nets are currently 30-34, which is the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference.
This season, Chandler averaged 5.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 threes on 40.4/30.6/87.0 shooting splits in 35 games. Earlier this season, he was suspended for 25 games after testing positive for a growth hormone stimulant.