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Wilson Chandler left the NBA for inner peace and balance in China

By Kristian Winfield, New York Daily News on

Published in Basketball

Wilson Chandler didn't leave the NBA to play in China for nothing. He went looking for peace and balance.

Chandler, who spent last season with the Nets, signed with the Zhejiang Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association this offseason. It was an interesting decision considering Chandler is only 32 years old, plays the forward spot, can defend multiple positions and is a career 34% three-point shooter.

"People ask me, 'Why did you go to China? You could have possibly won a ring if you stayed with the Nets with KD and Kyrie both being healthy and having Caris (leVert) and Spencer (Dinwiddie) and all the other guys on the team,' Chandler said on Episode 5 of The Realm Podcast. "But I felt like I needed a change. I felt like I needed peace of mind, to get away. Being here makes you appreciate things."

For Chandler, living in China makes him appreciate the little things, things he says he loses focus on while living in the United States.

"I think I just needed that change of environment and that change mentally, just to find peace within myself and get away and be here and just focus on being happy and being happy playing basketball," he continued. "Loving the sport, not playing for a paycheck. Not playing for family. Not playing for fans and stuff. That was the biggest thing for me. I'm honestly happy with my decision. Ever since I've been here, I've been cool, I've been chillin'.

"Everybody's like 'you bored?' Nah, I'm good. 'No chicks?' I'm good. I think it was something that I needed personally, and I know a lot of people may not understand that."

Chandler played 12 NBA seasons and averaged 12.5 points and five rebounds. He spent his first three-and-a-half seasons with the Knicks, where he started 180 total games before his eventual trade to the Denver Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony deal.

 

Chandler said he continued to hangout in New York after his trade, which made his short stint in Brooklyn more enjoyable.

The Nets signed Chandler at the beginning of last offseason but he missed the first 25 games due to a failed drug test. He eventually returned and averaged six points and four rebounds in 21 minutes per game. Chandler opted not to play in the NBA's resumption of the regular season in the Orlando bubble, citing family health concerns, but still holds the Nets franchise in high regard.

"They're a great organization from my point of view, just making sure you've got all the little things you need. How they treat the lowest person to the highest person, everybody's pretty much equal," he said. "They made it feel like home to me. They were very transparent the way they handled business, just the stuff they did for my family. They made sure my grandmother, my kids had stuff. For me it was comfortable. It was like home, and then the players on the team were cool as hell. All around a great time, a great experience."

Now that he's in China, Chandler said he's been devoting more time to thinking about what his life after basketball looks like. He doesn't think he's going to be able to sit around, retired, and just chill out for the rest of his days.

"That's like the big question. I think about that s — - every day. I don't know," he said. "Right now, I've been dabbling in the cannabis industry, so that's what I'm doing right now. That's probably my biggest thing outside of basketball: cannabis, so it's probably going to be something with that."

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