Monday, May 10, 2010
I'm watching the NBA playoff game pitting the Los Angeles Lakers against the Utah Jazz. In the crowd there are two Utah fans that have shirts that read "Fisher Lied".
Some background. About 3 years ago Fisher's then ten month old daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer. This required her to get immediate surgery and chemotherapy at a New York City hospital. Fisher accompanied his family to New York City to be with his daughter. He flew back to Salt Lake afterwards to try and be there for his team. In one of the most memorable playoff games, Derek Fisher helped the Utah Jazz defeat the warriors that evening with several crucial plays including a steal and a clutch three pointer.
After the end of the season, Derek Fisher asked the Utah Jazz to be released from his contract so that he could hopefully sign with a team that had specialist nearby that would be able to help his daughter. With no guarantees that anybody would sign him, Derek Fisher left $22 Million on the table. Read that last sentence again. He gave up a guaranteed $22 million to do what was best for his family. He could have very easily not been signed by any other team and made $0. The Jazz also had the option to make Derek Fisher honor the contract but they chose to let him off the hook. It was a mutually agreed upon solution.
The Lakers would eventually sign him but at $8 million less than what he would have made at Utah.
I am not a Derek Fisher fan. Despite the success the Lakers have had while he has been on the team, you will often here me complain about his lack of defense or his inability to consistently shoot the three. But I have no doubt that he did not make up the situation with his daughter. If there is one thing everyone who knows him agrees with is that Derek Fisher has class. I hate his ability but I don't question his character. For the Utah Jazz fans to suggest he would use his daughter's life threatening illness for some nefarious purpose disgusts me.
We often debate on this blog if athletes are overpaid. People argue about the greed that athletes exhibit and they are unworthy of making that money. Yet here you have a very clear instance of an athlete taking LESS money to do the right thing and a bunch of jackass fans decide it would be funny to make fun of the situation.
Stay classy Utah. Stay classy.