In the woulda, coulda, shoulda department, Tyson Chandler's absence from Monday's White House ceremony celebrating the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks was just his latest near-miss of a presidential meeting.
Now that Chandler is a member of the Knicks, with a game scheduled Monday night at Madison Square Garden, he had to skip the capital festivities. Typically, the NBA arranges a White House appearance for its champion when that team is in Washington, but the post-lockout schedule doesn't include a Mavericks appearance on the Wizards' home court.
Monday's hastily arranged meet-and-greet with President Obama came when Chandler had to be with his new teammates. "A little disappointed,'' he said, "more so because in the past players were able to bring their wives along, so my wife was really looking forward to meeting the President.''
Chandler, then of the Hornets, who were playing the Pacers, met Obama in 2008 in Indianapolis, where he was campaigning.
"Got a chance to talk to him then,'' Chandler said. "I was actually supposed to before the lockout ended. But I'd rather be playing.''
Chandler kidded that Obama now "owes me a [White House] tour, a one-on-one game. He owes me a lot right now. Some more money back on my taxes.''
In the meantime, Chandler has been to the Pentagon. When Chandler played for the Bulls, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's son was on the Bulls' public relations staff, he said. Did he get defensive pointers?
"They've got more stuff backing them than I do,'' Chandler said. "I got Amar'e and Melo. But they got more.''