When the boos cascaded down the aisles of EnergySolutions Arena back in November, Derek Fisher was caught off guard — something he rarely experiences as a professional athlete playing for one of the NBA's most reviled teams.
"When I came back that first time," Fisher, who spent last season with the Jazz and became a fan-favorite as he helped Utah reach the Western Conference Finals, said, "there was a sting."
That was almost four months ago but Fisher, now back with the Los Angeles Lakers after asking to be released from his Jazz contract during the offseason, is preparing himself for another round of emotional welcome-back greetings tonight.
The range of emotions, he admits, will be varied and amplified because of the tight playoff race.
"The emotions of the fans will be high to begin with," Fisher said.
The boos that stung Fisher in his first return to Salt Lake City after leaving the Jazz surprised him. He knew he wouldn't get a hero's welcome, considering the uniform he'd be wearing, but did not expect the sounds her heard.
"I play for the team that Jazz fans love to hate," he said. "Regardless of the circumstances, I'm back on the Lakers again."
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And that, more than any ulterior motives fans might have assumed, is the primary reason he wasn't embraced with open arms.
"If I played for any other team in the NBA," Fisher said, "the reception probably would have been different."
Yet, the circumstance that lead him to leave the Jazz — his infant daughter, Tatum, was diagnosed with a rare form or eye cancer, and he wanted to live in a city with medical specialists more specifically trained to treat her — rubbed many Jazz fans the wrong way when he almost immediately signed with the Lakers after his contract was dissolved in Utah.
"I don't know if there's anything I could do to change it," Fisher said. "I expected to come in and it would be positive."
It wasn't, entirely, and he's still being asked questions about it.
When the ball is thrown into the air for tipoff tonight, though, he expects all emotions to be focused on winning the game. With the playoff race closer than anyone can remember, each game is crucial.
"I've never experienced it in my 12 years," he said. "It's keeping all teams engaged. The NBA has a little heartbeat right now."
Will Fisher get his feelings hurt if 19,000 fans serenade him with boos again?
"I wouldn't say hurt feelings," he said. "It was moreso unexpected or disappointing more than anything. But I'm beyond that. I've moved on."
Talk about anything general in the NBA here.
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:49 am
Poster Credit: 1
jazz fans are classless.. everyone knows that.
As shocking as it sounds... I'm gonna half to agree with the Jazz fans, for once.
There's no reason as to why Derek Fisher had to ask for his release from Utah so that he could go play with the Lakers. After years in LA, you really think he sold his house down there? Of course not. He spent all off-season in Southern California. Don't you guys remember that when he played for Golden State? His family lived down there.
So, now that we've established that Tatum lived in LA, to begin with (hence, Fisher's dramatic return against us in the 2nd round... arriving from Los Angeles), why couldn't Tatum have gone to the hospitals in LA with her mother? Or with a family member? Which is, obviously, what she's doing now, because her father is STILL playing a full-time, NBA schedule (on the road for God knows how many weeks per year). It's not like Fisher's return to the Lakers is gonna help his daughter's illness in any way. DFish simply wanted to go back to LA. And he used his daughter's condition as an excuse.
I'd boo him, too.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 1:09 pm
Location: surviving in your world
Poster Credit: 3
i would want to come back to cali also....who the f wants to live in the middle of the boring as s utah
I had the meaning but missed the experience.
Dude..............that is heartless as hell...........no what suspicions you/we have over Fishers character and reasons for going back HOME!...........you cant call a guy out like that when it involves seriously ill family members.........and kids especially............are you a Father? I am, and Id give up ANYTHING and cause no end of trouble for anyone who got in my way of returning to be closer to my child.
I truly, honestly think you guys are buying into that TNT, "we know drama" stuff a little too much.
First of all, lets get some facts straight: Derek Fisher's daughter suffers from an eye disorder, similar to cancer, that has been addressed from the start... so now, the worst case scenario is that she could lose her eye (and, yes, that was the worst case scenario when he played for Utah, too). We're not talking about death here, so that side of the argument flies out the window. If there were any chance this disorder could be fatal, I'd agree with everyone of you who are claiming Fisher is correct for wanting to be by his daughter's side. However, it's not fatal. At worst, she loses an eye. But lets be frank. Tatum Fisher is not going to be getting the "at worst" treatment from any hospital.
Point #2 I'd like to make: Derek Fisher entertained the idea of playing for the Dallas Mavericks, the San Antonio Spurs, the Miami HEAT, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New York Knicks, the Golden State Warriors, and the Los Angeles Clippers, before finally choosing the Lakers. There was ample medical assistance for Tatum's disorder in many large cities in the United States and Fisher was not above exploring his options as a newfound free agent. In fact, there was a point in time where he had sat down and had a discussion with Mark Cuban about playing for the Mavericks.
Lastly, I just don't buy into and/or respect Derek Fisher taking on the "my hands are tied, I have to do this" victim-persona. I don't believe Fisher needed to leave Utah to hang out with his daughter and her non-fatal disorder. I believe, after using his daughter's condition as an excuse to leave the Jazz, it was wrong of Derek Fisher to sign a full-time contract with the Lakers. I'm simply trying to see it from the Jazz fan perspective; not the Jazz-hating-Warrior-fan perspective.
So now that we've established that Tatum's disorder can't kill her, she likely will get top notch treatment all throughout the ordeal (so she probably won't lose her eye, either), and her father is a young, handsome millionaire that made an obscene amount of money from Utah and Golden State who can afford to keep her under careful watch until the end of time... how can you guys possibly still justify Derek Fisher screwing over the Jazz to play for the Lakers? I just think the media made a huge deal out of a quasi-serious condition that his daughter has (hint: I think Zo's kidney problems were far more serious) and a few of you guys are eating it up like candy. This isn't as serious as you guys are making it sound. Its a bunch of TV writers looking for a story.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
#1, as I stated above, Derek Fisher and his billion dollar doctors caught the tumor in it's beginning stages, therefore the possibility of it spreading to her brain (or anywhere else, for that matter) is close to none. The TNT Drama marketing department fails to mention that part.
#2, losing her eye is the worst case scenario. She probably won't lose anything. The most likely conclusion is that her eyesight in one eye is thrown off and she gets special glasses to fix them.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS DIE HARD
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:42 pm
Poster Credit: 0
sorry, 32, I think you are off base on this:
it is a very serious disease, and speaking as a father, I think we are way out of line to judge him on it.
The most relevant quote:
In May, his daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumor in her left eye. The danger is that it could spread to her brain or the rest of her body.
That's a lot more than just a special pair of glasses...
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