While Settling In, Chandler Shows Commitment Off Court
Wilson Chandler hasn’t been a member of the 76ers long. It’s been less than a month since he was acquired in a trade with the Denver Nuggets, which also included a pair of future second-round picks.
But on an overcast, comfortable afternoon in a pastoral section of central Montgomery County, the 31-year old swing man was already out and about, bringing good vibes and plenty of smiles to the Variety Club Camp and Development Center.
At the Worcester-based facility, Chandler hung out with attendees of the camp, which, for over 80 years, has devoted itself to building confidence in and give independence to disabled children and young adults from the Delaware Valley.
Right off the bat, Chandler not only wanted to back a worthy cause, but demonstrate his commitment to his new team, and the community surrounding it.
“I’m happy to be here,” said Chandler, who grew up in Western Michigan in a town just off the Lake. “It’s always good to come out and support everyone - no matter race, special needs or whatever it is. Everybody’s equal, and I just wanted to come out and support and show that.”
During the time that Chandler spent with campers, he supplied the pitching during a game of kickball, played around on the basketball court, and gave out high fives, handshakes, and hugs.
The 10-year NBA vet was also part of Tuesday's culminating event, the presentation of a $25,000 check from Firstrust Bank, one of the Sixers’ corporate partners, to Variety. The money will be put towards funding future scholarships to the camp.
Today was a slam dunk! Wilson Chandler from @sixers came to play basketball with us today. @FirstrustBank also presented a check for $25,000 to send kids to camp next year! Watch the visit tonight on @6abc #supportvarietykids #varietykidscan pic.twitter.com/D1QThEJBbs
— Variety Philadelphia (@VarietyPhila) July 31, 2018
Before the festivities wrapped up, Chandler hoped to leave the group with some inspiring words.
“Just know that we’re all equal, working together,” Chandler said of his message. “[It’s] one of the greatest things we can do to bring each other up.”
With his seven-season stint in Denver now done, Chandler has recently been getting acclimated to the Philadelphia area, and the Sixers. He’s spent part of the past few weeks visiting with coaches, and members of the Sixers’ strength and conditioning and physical therapy staffs.
Immediately after his move to the Sixers was made official on July 6th, the DePaul product was impressed with how he was treated.
“One thing I can say about this organization and the team, top to bottom, the day I got traded, everybody reached out, from the owners to the players to the equipment team, everybody made me feel at home right away,” he said. “They made it easy on me.”
One of Chandler’s last games with Nuggets ended up being a March 26th stop at The Center, a game the Sixers’ won, 123-104, behind a dominant second half.
The Sixers’ performance stuck with Chandler. He took particular note of Brett Brown’s coaching style, and how hard the Sixers competed.
“It looks like everybody’s committed to one another, and no selfishness on the team at all.”
With next season’s horizon line slowly becoming more and more visible, Chandler intends to use the final weeks of the summer to continue preparing himself for the journey ahead.
“I think on my end, just keep doing what i’ve been doing - staying in shape, working on my weaknesses,” he said.
In the meantime, in terms of his off-the-court impact, Chandler is off to a nice start.
Photos taken by Ryan Disdier.