Topic: With Derek Fisher‘s playing career now officially over, we wonder if his jersey should be retired at Staples Center.
Context: Earlier this week, Derek Fisher accepted the head coaching position with the New York Knicks, effectively ending his playing career. Fisher spent 18 seasons in the NBA, with 13 of those coming in LA where he became one of the most beloved Lakers of all-time.
Though Fisher’s career numbers were never great, as he was a role player during all of his years, he will forever have a place in Laker’s history. The ‘0.4 shot’ is one of the greatest shots in NBA playoff history and will be played for years to come.
During the Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals, Fisher hit a clutch 3-pointer to tie the game with under 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and another one to give the Lakers the lead in overtime as they took a 3-1 lead over the Orlando Magic on their way to a championship.
In 2010, Fisher was the star in Game 3, playing perhaps the best fourth quarter of his life, and capping it off with a huge fast-break layup and foul over three Celtics to ice the game. He even hit a big-time three-pointer in the fourth quarter of Game 7 of that series to put the Lakers over the hump.
The great moments of Derek Fisher’s Lakers career can be talked about for years, and even if he wasn’t the best, he was one of the most beloved Lakers in the history of the franchise. But is that enough to have his jersey hanging in the rafters?
This is a very difficult and emotional subject. I love Derek Fisher as do most Lakers fans who have been watching this team in this era. This question really split fans down the middle as many fans want to see that #2 jersey in the rafters, while others believe Fisher is not on that level.
With almost any other franchise in the NBA, Fisher’s role in helping the franchise win five championships would undoubtedly have allowed his number to hang inside of Staples Center. But the Lakers have set a precedent with the numbers they retire.
The Lakers have nine former players whose jerseys have been retired. All nine of those players have a spot in the Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Fisher’s name just doesn’t seem right next to the likes of Chamberlain, West, Abdul-Jabbar, and O’Neal.
The Lakers do not retire the numbers of role players, and while Fisher may very well be the best of the bunch, it just wouldn’t be right to have his number up there.
At the very least, Michael Cooper and Byron Scott would have to have their names honored before Fisher could receive that honor. But until that happens, Fisher’s jersey can’t be retired at Staples Center in my opinion.