He's a California native, but New York blood courses through Tyson Chandler's veins now.

The 7-foot-1 Knicks center with the Sacha Baron Cohen "Dictator'' beard — and the centerpiece acquisition of their offseason build toward a first championship since 1973 — embodies everything we in New York crave and demand from our athletes.

As much as Chandler and the Knicks are a perfect fit, Chandler and New York are a perfect marriage.

We pride ourselves as hearty souls who grind our way through a life a bit tougher and more inconvenient than many endure elsewhere. Chandler's play on the basketball court embodies that with the laundry list of dirty work he takes on — willingly and with a smile — every game.