DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki knows all too well about the intense talks Tyson Chandler gives his teammates, especially when they’ve done something wrong that the center wants corrected.
And for those players whose skin is too soft to take, Nowitzki had a message for them.
"You’ve got to check your feelings at the door some in this league,’’ the Dallas Mavericks’ 12-time All-Star forward said. "You can’t get sensitive in this league.
"We all make mistakes. Sometimes you get a little emotional, but you’ve got to put it behind, talk about it and get better. That’s the only way to get better. By communicating and talking about it, that’s the only way to do it.’’
Chandler’s emotional speeches served as a backdrop in the Mavs’ drive to the 2011 NBA title. But when he joined the New York Knicks the following season, the speeches work.
Well, they work as long as the Knicks were winning. And when the Knicks didn’t win last season, guess who team president Phil Jackson said had some chemistry issues with his teammates?
"I don’t know why they did that," Chandler said after Tuesday’s practice at American Airlines Center. "Only they can answer that question.
"I’ve since then moved on and don’t pay it any much attention, to be honest."
From Chandler’s standpoint, it appears all was well with the Knicks during the 2011-’12 season when he was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year. And the applauds could still be hear the following season when he earned his lone NBA All-Star berth.
But when Chandler missed 27 games last season because of a knee injury, the cheering stopped and the blame-game started.
Nowitzki rushed to Chandler’s defense, saying: "I think he had some injuries there (last season). I think he showed that one year -- when (Jason) Kidd went there too, and they had a great run and they were a playoff team -- he showed his worth.
"He was Defensive Player of the Year, I think, that year.’’
In essence, Nowitzki doesn’t understand how anyone can underestimate Chandler’s massive contributions on the court and in the locker room.
"In the locker room he’s always the first guy to speak up if he sees something he doesn’t like, especially on the defensive end,’’ Nowitzki said. "His communication is next to no other than I’ve ever seen in my 17 years.
"When he makes a mistake, he wants to hear it. He wants to communicate about it and get better and put it behind him. He’s been amazing.’’