Unlike LeBron James, Derek Fisher Gets It

July 13, 2010 – 12:38 am by Ryan Phillips

Derek Fisher could have taken more money and gone with the latest, flashy option and signed a deal with the Miami Heat. Instead, he took less money to stay at home, and finish what he’s started with the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, Fisher’s three-year, $10.5 million deal will net him less money per year than his soon-to-be backup Steve Blake. Blake recently inked a four-year, $16 million deal to run the Lakers’ second unit.

By returning to the Lakers, Fisher proved he understands something that LeBron James seems to have missed. It’s not about hype, or flash, it’s about substance and finishing what you’ve started. Fisher has always been a Laker, and will always be remembered as a Laker. He knew what he needed to do was return to the backcourt with Kobe Bryant, and be in Los Angeles for coach Phil Jackson’s last year in the NBA.

Fisher said there was one person he couldn’t turn down, and that was Bryant.

“At the end of the day, there’s one person I could not turn away from. Kobe Bryant asked me to stay but supported whatever decision I made. He and I have played together for 11 seasons, came into the league together as kids, and has been loyal to me even when others had doubts.”

Fisher left the Lakers once before, when the Golden State Warriors offered him a ridiculous six-year, $37 million contract. He had to leave and take his money, it was the right thing to do for his family.

After two years with the Warriors, he was traded to the Utah Jazz, where after one year Fisher actually asked to be let out of his contract because his daughter needed expert medical care that she could only get in a major city. So he returned to the Los Angeles and the Lakers for far less money than he had been making. He gave up nearly $8 million dollars to return to the Lakers and give his daughter a chance at survival from a rare form of retinoblastoma.

See, LeBron, that’s called loyalty. Bryant and Fisher care about one another, and are willing to make sacrifices for each other because they want to continue to accomplish things together. If Fisher left the Lakers probably could have picked up a quicker, younger point guard, which would have made defensive assignments easier on Bryant. But no, since day one of free agency, Bryant has been vocal about the need for Fisher to return.

It’s not about what’s best for Bryant, it’s about what’s best for the team. And having Derek Fisher’s presence on the Lakers’ roster is what’s best for the team and the franchise.

Could Fisher have pulled a crybaby move and complained that Blake got more money than him? Yeah, absolutely. Did he? Nope. He realized the business of the game meant that a backup who could shoot would cost the team money and that if he took more cash it would make it even more difficult to fill out the team’s roster.

Instead of leaving a team and city that has embraced him for years, he took less money to stay and finish the job. Maybe if the Miami Heat meet the Lakers in the NBA Finals in 2011, LeBron will look across the court and see what loyalty can get you as Fisher and Kobe complete their second three-peat.

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  1. 27 Responses to “Unlike LeBron James, Derek Fisher Gets It”

  2. I’m a Miami Heat fan. I’m not a LeBron James fan. I respect his talent. I will take umbrage with saying he has no loyalty. Didn’t Fisher do the “no loyalty” thing when he left for Utah? Your article makes no sense. FYI Fisher’s daughter had her trewatments and surgery in Miami, not LA. Not any “major” city.

    By Alvin on Jul 13, 2010

  3. I don’t even have to read the article. Based on the title alone, I won’t. It’s easy “to get” when it’s a org that has surrounded you with the NBA’s top 50 greatest players which has already netted you 5 rings….

    By Mike L on Jul 13, 2010

  4. The worst sports article i have ever read. Please do your homework next time. Its writers like you that give the sport a bad name. Just take a look at how many hall of fame players end there career with other teams. Could it be owners the loyalty of the team owners? hmm too many great athletes that do wonderful things for there communities will more than likely be trade because of a team owners bottom line. Lebron you go boy way to handle your business.

    By Curtis McGee on Jul 13, 2010

  5. Funny I thought it was a business! Loyality forget with free agency and the owners in all sports being able to control players destiny remember it’s a business! Even Jordan the Best of all times fell to the Organization Wins not player mentality! Sad and crazy artical learn the jistory of Sports first then make a comment!

    By rex on Jul 13, 2010

  6. Maybe you do not remeber or know that kareem and Chamberlaint whent to your beloved team when they where entering their prime and they whent for the money and fame , I believe L James has that already, so please Don’t be so bias, and the Heat offered less money than the lakers to Him. Did dady let you play with the computer or are you heart reporting.

    By cartoon on Jul 13, 2010

  7. Great Article — Apparently there are so many people who condone Lebron’s infamous affair they can’t even begin to see what loyalty looks like in an article….. Come on people Lebron still has to win something…Opps my bad I forgot not to give away the spoiler to everyone…(lol)

    By Writelinx on Jul 13, 2010

  8. Sport is a complicated business and Derek Fisher and Dirk Nowitzki do get it. They have put personal needs behind team needs. They have earned fame and fortune and want to go out as winners. The best way to do that in each case was to re-sign with the team that they have been with.

    By Cookster53 on Jul 13, 2010

  9. Its easy to resign with the team you’ve been with when that time is willing to offer you the most money and they are the defending NBA champs… this is stupid

    By Dave on Jul 13, 2010

  10. Lebron wanted the easiest way to get a ring, simple as that. He’s more than desperate now….
    Fisher have 5 rings and all the success in life. They’re uncomparable.

    By Roly Tan on Jul 13, 2010

  11. LOL!! You sir or ma’am are NOT a good writer. Terrible comparisions and great contridications.

    2nd paragraph Fisher has always been a Laker.
    5th Paragraph Fisher left the Lakers.

    Fisher took less money to be in a major city where his kid could get the best treatment.
    Fact is no one but LA offered to sign Fisher.

    Fisher has 5 rings, plays in the #2 media market in the country, plays with arguably the best player in the World who begged him to stay and he is at the END of his career. LOTS of people want to come to LA (Case in point Artest who left more money in Houston to win a ring in LA) NO ONE WANTS TO GO TO FRIGGIN CLEVELAND!

    How on earth does that compare even the slightest to LeBron who has 0 rings is in his prime, played in NE Ohio and couldn’t get players to come play with him?

    Quick someone name the best player that LeBron got to play with for 2 or more seasons in Clevland. (Fish had Shaq Diesel,Black Mamba, Big Shot Rob, Ron Harper, Pau Gasol)

    I could go on but i think the point is made, Next time try comparing apple to apples.

    By Bill on Jul 13, 2010

  12. I don’t know what Derek Fisher’s contract has to do with LeBron. LeBron took less money to win a title. You could say that Fisher did the same thing. His situation in L.A. was a lot better than LeBron’s in Cleveland.

    By John on Jul 13, 2010

  13. Bill,
    The point was that Fisher will always be a Laker and has always been considered a Laker. Even when he wasn’t with the team.

    Ask Cleveland fans if they’ll consider LeBron a Cavalier after what he did.

    By Phillips on Jul 13, 2010

  14. i think eveyone should get off lb’s back he did what was right 4 him.they are making to much of all this.stop the crying clevland,the sh*ts over.let the man be!!!!

    By matt on Jul 13, 2010

  15. your a clown! I usually love your stuff but don’t a schmuck. Derek Fisher = perfect for triangle, getting old, lives/loves LA, with all his friends, taking less money.

    Lebron = perfect for any offense, in prime, lives/loves miami, with all his friends. taking less money.

    Your argument sucks because the only distinction is that one left their “home town” and the other stayed. Open your eyes!

    By whitaker on Jul 13, 2010

  16. So…..Fisher, who left the team to play for two other teams and then came back IS loyal, but LeBron, who gave seven years to his team and then left FOR LESS MONEY…is a traitor?

    You’re crazy.

    By Jim on Jul 14, 2010

  17. Le Bron wants to win desperately….who can blame him. All I know is that he cant carry or win a team to the finals. I just wished he left the Cavs more grace especially for the fans. Looked at Paul Pierce he stucked out with his team and got his, even when Miami wins the Championship it will be Dwaynes Championship!

    By aa on Jul 14, 2010

  18. I’D LIKE TO COMMENT ON ONE VERY IMPORTANT FACT! A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF YOU NEED TO LEARN HOW TO SPELL, AND THOSE WORDS ARE EASY! SAD…

    By MsLadyJBiz on Jul 14, 2010

  19. None of you really know why we in Cleveland are pissed. It is not because he left to win. It is the same reason we ended up hating Jim Thome, no excuse me, “my wife is my rock” Jim Thome. And even if he had done that, we would have given him the same pass we gave him for all 7 years. No, we’re angry because he folded on games 5,6,7 of the Celtics playoffs and he didn’t even tell Gilbert what his decision was and pretended when he had those practices with the the bench players and the high school kids in Akron that everything was still up in the air when “they” made their decsion in 2006 at the Olympics.

    By Adorabl on Jul 14, 2010

  20. Are you kidding me? Loyalty in this business? It’s a business-Lebron is allowed to go where he chooses to go! Article is crap-Now I can finally buy a Lebron Jersey cause Cleveland is lame!

    By Craig W.O. Henry on Jul 14, 2010

  21. First of all, now that LJ has moved to Florida he will pay no state income taxes on both salary and endorsements, the amount of his taxes in Ohio more than make up for the “smaller salary” he is taking to be in Miami, he is actually taking home 4.3 million more over the course of his contract. As far as being loyal to any team, Fisher is no more loyal than any other player in the world of free agency. Can’t really blame any player for going after the big bucks, especially when getting into playoffs gets you bonus money, these contracts they sign have all kinds of clauses that circumvent the salary cap. Remember Jordan’s contract he got 30 million a year his last 2 years in Chicago

    By Sundance419 on Jul 14, 2010

  22. I am a true LAKER fan. Im impressed with people like the writer who look pass what the media want u to believe and state the in-your-face facts. lebron sold out? Point blank. The higher one climbs, the harder the fall. Fisher your not worried cause you have been soaring for quite a bit

    By Nick T. on Jul 14, 2010

  23. I will noteven make a statement………..!!!!
    Instead i’ll ask a question..who is this crackpot writer anyways!!??

    By RAY T. MORRISON on Jul 15, 2010

  24. Lebron did what he had to do for his own career. Isn’t the goal of every sports player to win a championship? Well, that is what he’s looking for, good for him. But doesn’t the team, the owner, the coach of your team deserve the courtesy of being notified that your are considering to leave the team? That is what was wrong, disrespectful and unprofessional. There is no comparison with what Fisher did. Lebron, is 5 rings behind any of the Lakers players that won the championship and that includes Fisher. He needs to work hard.

    By Liliana F, on Jul 16, 2010

  25. to Alvin, Fisher did not leave for Utah. He left for Golden State. The Warriors then traded Fisher to Utah.

    By An Tran on Jul 18, 2010

  26. AS A LAKER FAN: THANKS FISHER AND LAKER OFFICE.. FOR FINALIZING FISHER’S CONTRACT. LIKE KOBY I MYSELF WAS LOBBYING FOR FISHER TO RETURN.. AS THE NBA COMMERCIAL SAY: “BASKETBALL IS MORE THAN A GAME”.. ITS A
    BUSINESS AND LEARNING EXPERIENCE.. #1 THE PROBLEM OF LEBRON IS HOW HE LEFT THE CAVS.. VERY COWARDLY.. HE SHOULD HAD DISCUSSED W/ CAVS PRIOR AND LEFT ESPN “DECISION AIRTIME” FOR SOMETHING ELSE. CAV’S SHOULD HAD BACK UP PLAN !!! BUT LEBRON’S HAD HIS RIGHT TO GO!!! GOES TO SHOW EVERYONE!!! KOBE IS BETTER MENTALLY HE’S ON DIFFERENT LEVEL THAN LEBRONS.. LEBRON’S IS WHERE KOBE WAS WHEN IN 2005 WHEN HE WANTED OUT OF LAKERS.. ONLY THING KOBE SPOKE UP..LET OWNER KNOW HE NEEDED HELP!!! BUSS DIDN’T PUBLICLY CRITICIZE KOBE.. THEY GOT HIM HELP !!! GASOL & FISH.. THANKS LAKERS ITS NICE TO BE LOYAL TO US FANS IN LA-LA LAND..

    By LAKER on Jul 18, 2010

  27. TO: DEREK FISHER FROM ONE OF YOUR LAKER FAN..
    YOU ARE ONE HUMBLE CLASSY GUY!!! TO THE BUSS FAMILY YOU KNOW DEREK DESERVES MORE THAN WHAT
    THE CONTRACT IS..HE’S NEEDS SOME TYPE OFF CONTRACT $$$ COMPENSATION FOR HIS LOYALTY AND
    HIS EXPERIENCE & LEADERSHIP.. MAGIC, YOU AND DR. BUSS INVITE DEREK TO 24* FITNESS AND HIM SOME BENJAMINS($$$) ON HIS TREADMILL.. SO YOU ALL WON’T BE OVER THE SALARY CAP !!! IT TAKES HUMBLE GUY TO GET LESS THAN BOTH YOUR BACK UPS BOTH PAST & FUTURE..(FARMAR & BLAKE) DEKEK YOU WILL BE BLESS BEYOND BY THE OWNER ABOVE (GOD)… FOR YOUR HUMBLE & LOYAL SPIRIT.. MORE THAN U KNOW.. THANK U FOR BEING A ROLE MODEL FOR YOUNG & OLD..

    By LAKER on Jul 18, 2010

  28. TYPO ERROR: IN ABOVE COMMENT: CORRECTION.. MAGIC & DR BUSS INVITE DEREK TO 24* FITNESS AND
    LEAVE HIM SOME BENJAMINS($$$$)IN A ENVELOPE ON HIS TREADMILL WHILE HE’S WORKING OUT TO HELP 3 PEAT FOR CHAMPIONSHIP !!!! FOR HIS LOYALTY & LEADERSHIP. WHEN DOES A PLAYER MAKE MORE THAN THE CAPITAN OR CO-CAPITAN ????

    By LAKER on Jul 18, 2010

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