Joined: Thu Dec 30, 2004 2:44 pm
Location: Brighton, England.
Poster Credit: -5
Posted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:35 pm
Hmmm, to finish this one off properly/bring back up with the words of the Fishmeister himself =
http://deseretnews.com/article/content/ ... e?rss=true
NBA playoffs: Fisher's year of pain, growth
One year later, Fisher's changed
May 6, 2008 — He smiled. Laughed. Darn near cried.
With the first anniversary of a young child's cancer surgery and his own playoff heroics for the Jazz fast-approaching, Derek Fisher stood at the Los Angeles Lakers' practice facility and relived a gamut of gut-wrenching emotion.
That day at the New York hospital. The flight back to Utah. A 3-pointer for victory. The decision to leave Utah and return to Los Angeles. The booing. Newfound perspective on it all.
For more than a half-hour Monday, moving no more than a step or two the entire time, Fisher talked about twists and turns, pains and gains, spirit-crushing lows and faith-boosting highs.
As he looked a handful of inquisitors in their eyes, words flowed. He addressed the cynics. He spoke as a Laker, but slipped in an occasional "us" and "we" when referencing last season's Jazz.
It's the day after Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference semifinal series between Utah and L.A., two days before Wednesday's Game 2, and there's a lot on Fisher's mind.
· · · · ·
May 9, 2007, in the morning.
It's 10:30 in New York; 10-month-old Tatum Fisher is supposed to be undergoing surgery. She has retinoblastoma, a rare and life-threatening childhood eye cancer.
The little girl hasn't eaten in 10-plus hours. But another patient at New York Presbyterian Hospital has a heart problem, so there's a delay.
"Tatum's screaming and going crazy, and just in a lot of discomfort because she can't eat, she can't drink anything," Fisher said. "There was no way to really comfort her. She's tired. It was a whirlwind of a day."
And it was just beginning.
First, Fisher said he and wife Candace listened to "doctors explaining what they were going to have to do, and how."
They heard "how fragile things were."
Reality hit hard, but didn't really sting until separation.
"To me, that day," Fisher said, "the toughest was when we had to take her into the pre-op room and put her there for the last time, and not see her for five hours, basically, until they were able to come back and tell us things went great."
They did go well.
Before the family could fly back to Utah as pre-planned, however, there'd be more waiting — just to make sure the artery in which surgeons made their approach had healed.
Then it was onto a plane.
"From there," Fisher said, "I just kind of ran out of gas and went to sleep for about an hour."
With nary a clue as to what would await when he awoke.
· · · · ·
May 9, 2007, in the evening.
After surgery, but before leaving the hospital, Fisher — longtime Laker, winner of three NBA title rings, but at the time with the Jazz — called his coach.
"I talked to (Jerry Sloan) after surgery, once Tatum got up to recovery, and just gave (him) and (Jazz general manager) Kevin (O'Connor) the update," he said.
Utah had to play that night — against Golden State, second round of the playoffs, Game 2 with the Warriors.
Fisher had no idea if the Jazz had kept him on their 12-man active roster.
"I told Coach, 'I worked out when I got to New York just to work out some stress and get a sweat going, but I hadn't touched a ball in four days. So it's totally up to you.' "
The guard soon learned he indeed was needed.
His personal assistant, Fisher recalled with a grin, already had "arranged through Salt Lake City police to have me escorted to the arena, just because he knew I wanted to go anyway just to see the game and let the guys know I was back.
"When we landed, he told me, 'All heck's broken loose, basically. Dee Brown's hurt, and D-Will (Deron Williams) is in foul trouble. You're on the active roster; they want you there.'
"I asked (Candace) on the spot, 'Is it OK for me to play?' She didn't want me to stink up the gym, either ... Once she said she was OK with it, that she would be OK at the house by herself, then I rushed over, and the rest is history."
He arrived late in the third quarter, barely with time to warm up.
"I was hyperventilating a little bit ... and the trainer was trying to tell me to slow down and relax and catch your breath, and I was like, 'Wow,'" Fisher said, chuckling now. "I walked out onto the floor, the crowd's going crazy, and I'm really just saying hello to my teammates ... and before I could even sit down, Jerry's like, 'Fish, go in the game.' My legs were wobbling."
Fisher subbed for Andrei Kirilenko, made it through the quarter, forced Warriors point Baron Davis out of bounds late in regulation, then took a Williams pass and buried a left-side trey that stood up as the game-winner in OT.
Utah loved him.
· · · · ·
Nov. 30, 2007
During the summer, Fisher asked out of his Jazz contract, citing the need to be closest to the best possible medical care for Tatum.
The request was granted; Fisher soon re-signed with the hated Lakers.
Some took the move at face value; others questioned if he was using his daughter's plight as a ticket out of Utah.
When the Lakers returned to face the Jazz for the first time this past regular season, in November, the booing was ugly.
"Obviously, the fans were full of emotion. I was full of emotion as well. It for sure caught me off-guard," Fisher said. "But from right after that game and up to the second game going back (on March 20), there were a lot of people that I knew personally while I was there in the city that were very kind to me who sent notes or calls saying, 'They weren't speaking, or booing, for all of us' — that it was a smaller contingency of people that kind of got everybody else going.
"I think writers and journalists and people that kind of had a chance to step back for a bit and react from what happened the first time put together positive pieces and positive stories that ... changed some of the mindset of some of the local people. So going back the second time was more of a positive feel to it. Instead of booing, maybe they just didn't say anything."
Now Fisher maintains he understands.
"There's a particular love-hate thing for anybody that plays for the Lakers," he said, "so me coming back to this particular team, regardless of people's personal feelings — the purple and gold, it just kind of brings out that kind of emotion."
As for lingering skepticism, Fisher accepts it for what it is.
"I don't know that there is anything I would ever be able to say or do at this point that would change that," Fisher said. "I think it's just a society that we live in today, where we feel entitled to give our opinions — even sometimes when, if we were in the same situation, we would do the same thing.
"But knowing the people that I know in the Salt Lake community, anything related to faith, children, family — you know, money, at that point doesn't really matter; maybe hurting people's feelings doesn't really matter — you just do what's best for your family and the people you love at that time, and then how people respond is really secondary or maybe doesn't have a place at all," added Fisher, who lost about $6.5 million by leaving. "But I'm thankful for my time. There are still a lot of people I know there that I love."
· · · · ·
May 4, 2008
Fisher seems to genuinely treasure the short stay in Utah, which made Sunday's Laker win so satisfying.
"I feel as close to these guys as I do with guys that I've played years with, in terms of knowing who they are beyond just our accomplishments on the court," he said. "I feel like I really know who these guys are. I know their wives, I know their children. We went over to each other's houses and had dinners, and shared special moments. Those are things that will never be replaced, no matter how much basketball we play."
All that, in seven months.
How can it be?
"Because it's such a small community when you compare it to other major cities, I think you're able to take advantage of living close," Fisher said. "Here in Los Angeles — or in New York City, or Chicago — guys are living 40, 50 minutes, an hour, away from each other. Our teams that I was on in L.A. before — we hardly ever saw each other in-between the games.
"Because once Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) went to his house and I went to my house and Rick Fox went to his house, nobody was coming back out after that. I mean, traffic gets horrible. So, being in Salt Lake City last year was enjoyable in terms of being able to call each other and say, 'Hey, you want to come over and have a bite to eat?'
"There were nights after games Masha Kirilenko would have some food prepared and we'd all go over to Andrei's house and have dinner and eat and talk and watch the other playoff games. I think that's how we all grew together."
Then there's Sloan's system.
"It was a style of play (in which) you have to play together, and share the ball, and be good teammates, and be respectful to each other," Fisher said. "So I think on and off the court it was just a good environment for a team to be close."
· · · · ·
May 5, 2008
The update, as of Monday:
"Medically, Tatum is doing great," Fisher said. "We continue to, obviously, watch very closely. But for intents and purposes ... doctors feel there's no cancer cells, or a threat to her life.
"The tumor's still there, because of the treatment we chose, which allows her to keep her eye. So as long as the tumor's there, there's always a chance of the cancer coming back. That's why we have to watch so closely."
Tatum's Los Angeles doctor is an ex-colleague of her surgeon, which Fisher said "really gave us the confidence that, 'OK, if we can't be in New York, this is the guy we want to see.' "
"The tumor in the eye she experienced — they start like a pin mark on a paper. That small," he said. "So if you aren't watching closely, and if you're not dealing with doctors and medical people that have seen this for 25 or 30 years, and know exactly what to look for, you could miss something. We never want that to happen again.
"But she's doing great, and prayers and support and love have been tremendous. I don't know what more we can ask for, as a family."
Inform Fisher that Friday, when the Jazz and Lakers meet for Game 3 in Utah, is the anniversary, and tears well, words slow.
"It was life in a day, to feel the threat of losing something that you love so dearly, to then being able to go out and do something that you love so dearly, the game of basketball," he said. "To juggle those in the same day was truly remarkable. And I still don't accept all the credit myself. You know, I'm definitely a man of faith. Not a perfect man, at all. But I definitely believe I was being touched and watched over that day."
As much as I dont like Fisher the player...............I really didnt the the "hate" he got for his decision...............and when you hear what REALLY went on, and everything he and his family went through, and STILL AM.............I dont blame him at all, and as a Father would have done the exact same thing myself.
Interesting read and funny how 32 was the big debater here, as far as Fisher being a douche for what he did............and 32's last post in this topic, with questions, theyve all been answered.