The Los Angeles Lakers. You either love them or you hate them, there is no neutral territory when it comes to this team and its players.
People think Kobe Bryant is the best NBA player since Michael Jordan. Or they think he’s better. Others think he’s a whiner and have pledged him the misnomer “Kobe Cryant.”
Some think Ron Artest is a thug who has been given a second chance. Others like his music. Some think Phil Jackson is a king ring monger. Others think he’s a great coach.
Through all of the Laker drama, Derek Fisher, Laker guard in the number 2 jersey has managed to keep a cool image. Perhaps it’s because he’s from Arkansas (Parkview High) and attended college here in Arkansas.
Fisher, 6’1″ wasn’t recruited heavily by colleges after high school so he stayed in Little Rock and played at UALR while he majored in communications. He averaged 12.4 points a game and finished second in Trojan basketball history with 1,393 career points, 472 assists and 189 steals. During his senior year, Fisher was named Sunbelt Conference Player of the Year.
Fisher was the 24th draft pick for the LA Lakers along with 13th pick and then 19-year-old Kobe Bryant. The rest is history. Fisher has carried over his best assets, leader and role model, over into his pro career and this year, the Los Angeles Sports Council will name Derek Fisher Los Angeles Sports Man of the Year.
Fisher is the sixth Los Angeles athlete to win the award. David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, Elton Brand, Matt Leinart, and Paul Gasol are past winners. Fisher won by fan vote.
Fisher says he “wears many hats on the Laker team and calls himself the “handyman.” The handyman is a role that he has enjoyed playing on the team for years. “it’s a lot of the little intangible things that are required on and off the court to help the team perform as though they have more than one purpose.
“I was the unwritten captain of the team,” Fisher said, referring to when Shaq and Bryant were visible leaders of the Lakers team. With Shaq moved on, Fisher said, “Now I’m one of the captains with Kobe and everything is upfront and it’s a full-time job. I’m not okay with doing things that just work for me,” he said. “For me to perform well and we lose, obviously I did not do enough for us to win” he said adding that trying to find the balance between his performance and the team’s performance is something that weighs heavily with him.
Fisher receives his award on February 24th at the Beverly Hilton.