A Heartfelt Goodbye to Derek Fisher

We all knew it was coming. The great bulldog just doesn’t have the legs anymore and the Lakers needed someone younger and quicker to help lead the team. With the addition of Ramon Sessions, Derek Fisher has been sent to the Houston Rockets. Boy, is the trade difficult to take.

Derek Fisher is a class act in the NBA, a true leader on and off the court. He holds a special place in the hearts of many Lakers fans and it is certainly sad to see him go.

Fisher joined the Lakers 16 years ago in his rookie season alongside Kobe Bryant. He’s been there through thick and thin with Kobe (the drama with Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson) and the two of them have developed a special bond, playing 13 seasons together. I’ve always found it comforting to watch the pair on the court; their familiarity with each other is rare to find in the NBA. The relationship and trust built between them helped win the Lakers win five NBA titles. Without Fisher it’s very likely those title runs would not have happened.

So, it’s strange to think Fisher will never again wear the purple and gold jersey he has so proudly worn for so many seasons. He certainly had some magical moments with the Lakers. Fans will always remember his 0.4 shot against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2004 playoffs. But it isn’t just the shots fans will remember. His tenacious spirit and dedication to the game of basketball will be remembered as well. It should come as no surprise that Fisher holds the current streak for playing in consecutive games in the NBA at 514. He is a true professional and his work ethic is something younger players should aspire to.

While it is difficult to part ways with him, the NBA is a cold business, and the Lakers main objective is to win that Larry O’Brien trophy in June. As a veteran player, Fisher knows the only constant in the NBA is a team’s quest to win, and if a player isn’t helping to do so his job is in jeopardy. However, as a fan it’s devastating to see a player who gave so much to the organization end his career as a Laker via a trade on the last day of the trade deadline. It is almost as if Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers wanted to wait as long as possible before they had to trade the adored Derek Fisher.

So while the Lakers community lost one of its most beloved players, fans will always cherish the many memories Derek so graciously gave them. His leadership and steadying influence in the locker room will be greatly missed. The Lakers will quickly learn that and hopefully be able to adapt to the missing presence.

The Lakers face Houston twice in the remaining schedule this season. On March 20 and April 6, when Fisher will make his return to the Staples Center. Derek will surely receive a standing ovation upon his return. However, it seems as if that is not enough to thank such a magnificent player. How do you thank a player that has given you over a decade worth of memories? It’s impossible, but worth a try.

So, thank you Derek Fisher. Thank you for showing up and giving the Lakers your best for the past decade. Thank you for helping Kobe Bryant and other Laker players grow and mature into the players they are today. Thank you for your ferocious spirit and bulldog attitude, which shows the size of a player is insignificant when it comes to the amount of fight they have in their heart. Lakers fans wish you nothing but the best as you embark on the next chapter of your NBA career.

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