Editor's note: This article appears in the October 9 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
Nearly two dozen relatives had gathered in Chicago to celebrate last New Year's Eve. There was mingling, and there was music. There was also an absent host. Tyson Chandler was in no mood to entertain. He'd just spent 14 minutes over the previous couple of hours scoring two points, committing three fouls and snaring zero rebounds in a loss to the Suns. What was there to party about?
Besides, the conversations had become pretty predictable. Everyone had an opinion about how to fix his game. The coaching staff, the talk radio junkies, even well-meaning family members. So rather than subject himself to any more Monday-morning quarterbacking, Chandler decided it best to sit this one out in his bedroom and mope.
Then the one man who had always refused to meddle in Chandler's on-court affairs, his stepdad of 15 years, entered the room. "What's wrong with you?" asked William Brown, as only an ex-Marine can. "Why are you shooting free throws like that? Why aren't you running the floor? Why are you dropping passes?" He didn't wait for answers. He just said his piece and left.
"I was like, Wow," Chandler says. "He just went off on me. That was my low point."