Courtesy of Tyson ChandlerVogue
Tonight the undefeated U.S. men's basketball team (currently 4-0) takes on Argentina. Seven-foot-one-tall star center and first-time Olympian Tyson Chandler talks to us about his London experience.
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This is your first trip to the Olympic Games and your first time in London-any other major firsts?
I took the tube a few days ago, and it was my first time ever on a subway. It was pretty intense. It didn't matter how many people were jammed into one car, when it got to another station, more people would just push their way in, and jockey for a spot. It was kind of surreal. People would sort of look sideways at me since I am so tall, but then they would just go back to trying to grab a space on the train.
Where were you headed?
Since I had one of my rare days off without a game or full day of practice, a group of us, including my wife, Kimberly, were heading to the stores in East London on a recommendation to go shopping. Kimberly can find something to buy in any place she walks into, but for me, it's definitely a bit more of a scavenger hunt.
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What was your experience at the opening ceremony?
You just cannot prepare yourself for something like that-you think you can, but you really can't. We were all walking through the tunnel and then you emerge in the stadium and the noise is deafening. You hear all the people chanting and you see all the American flags waving; it's unbelievable. My blood started running and I got goosebumps.
How has it been playing as a team?
It's been great. During the regular NBA season, we are all on different teams, but for something like the Olympics, you really need to come together. As a team, we have really gelled and we get better and better every day. To win a gold medal would be amazing for us. For me, it would be such a milestone, but it would also mean so much to our country. It's been a little difficult to fathom, and little bit like a fantasy, but when we all get on the court, we come back to the fact that this is just a game we have all been playing for a long time and we focus.
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Do you think about the kids back home watching you play?
Absolutely. I remember watching the Dream Team when I was younger and really looking up to those guys and wanting to be like them when I was older-and now here I am. I always keep that in the back of my mind when it comes to how I conduct myself both on and off the court. I want to be a good influence on the next generation, and I want to inspire.
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