Box & One With Derek Fisher

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: January 21, 2008

SEATTLE — Derek Fisher has been in the league 11 years now and the only thing that he has done is be consistent. It doesn’t matter if he’s coming off the bench or in the starting line up, Derek plays with an intensity and passion that garners respect from his teammates and the attention of opposing teams.

Drafted by the Los Angeles in the first round in 1996, Derek came into the league prepared to be successful. He was a very important piece of that teams that won consecutive NBA Championships during the 1999, 2000 and 2001 season in his eight year stint with the team.

Derek isn’t what you would call a stats buster but he has made some big shots during his NBA career. For me, none is more memorable than last season during Game Five of the Western Conference Finals while he was a member of the Utah Jazz that were facing the San Antonio Spurs.

It was earlier in the day that his 10-month old daughter, Tatum, had surgery and he needed to be with his family so the team started the game without him and really didn’t expect him to show up at all. “I was told to take as much time as I needed and everyone in the organization understood the situation that I was facing.”

Derek boarded a plane and flew cross country, only after knowing that Tatum was going to be okay, to be with his teammates. The roar of the crowd that showered him upon entrance to the court in the third quarter was something that not even Hollywood could’ve scripted better.

The Pilots were updating him the score during the flight and he was already in his uniform ready to go and soon as the plane landed. Unfortunately the game didn’t end as we would have liked to have seen on the silver screen and the Spurs advanced to the Finals and went on to win the NBA Championship.

“Yes, I wish it could’ve turned out differently too but what we accomplished during my stay in Utah was something to be proud of.”

Fatherhood isn’t something that Derek Fisher takes lightly. “Being a professional athlete, we are conditioned to be goal oriented and focused on winning and it puts you in a mind set where you are always thinking about yourself.”

“When you have children all of that instantly changes and that’s when you truly begin to develop spiritually and mentally as a Man.”

Humility and true appreciation for the gift of life are lessons that were taught to Derek by his Father early on. “Fatherhood is such powerful word, a powerful experience, its life changing.”

It’s a blessing to be a Father; my children have added so much to my life and allowed me to put things in proper perspective.”

On July 20, 2007, Fisher re-signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. While going through the process of finding the proper care for Tatum, the doctors gave Derek a list of five cities that had a hospital with the medical facilities to accommodate the needs of his daughter and Los Angeles was one of those cities on the list.

“Seriously, it was an answer to prayer when the deal was finalized. I’m so thankful to be welcomed back into this organization with open arms and to familiar surroundings.”

“It is my belief that when you have an understanding of why you are here and what your purpose in life, it will allow you to grow and lead your family in the path of success and the decisions that you make are spiritually based which gives me great confidence in knowing that everything is going to be alright.’