Derek Lamar Fisher is an American professional basketball player. Fisher attended the Parkview Arts and Science Magnet High School and was a letterman in basketball. The younger brother of Duane Washington, a former NBA man, Fisher went to the University of Arkansas for a major in communications.
Fisher ended his four years at the University of Arkansas amongst the all-time leaders in points with 1,393. He also made the list in assists, with 472, and in steals, with 189. He had an average of 12.4 points per game with 4.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, in over 110 games. He made 399 free throws in his college career, a school record and was also ranked 3rd in the all-time University of Arkansas players or the 125 3-pointers he scored. In his senior year, he won the Sunbelt Conference Player of the Year title.
In 1996, The Los Angeles Lakers picked Fisher at 24th overall, and he went on to spend 8 glorious seasons with the team. It took him almost 6 of those 8 years to establish himself as a strong contender for the starting rotation and became the primary point guard in the 2002-03 season, starting all 82 games. Gary Payton was brought in that year after the Lakers failed to get past the Spurs in the Semi-finals of the Western Conference and that pushed Fisher back onto the bench. Despite his new role, Fisher produced a moment of sheer brilliance that propelled him in the sport to never-before levels.
Game 5 of the Western Conference semi-finals in 2004-05 saw the Lakers lock horns with the Spurs again. With the series tied at 2-2, game 5 was running real close. 11-seconds to go, Kobe Bryant put the Lakers up 72-71 only to see the Spurs grab the lead with just 0.4 seconds to go. Tim Duncan’s fade-away gave Spurs the 73-72 lead and celebrations began in San Antonio. Three consecutive timeouts later, Payton inbounded the ball to Fisher who caught, turned and shot, all within 0.4 seconds to give Lakers the win. That shot earned him the nickname - “The Fish that saved LA”. The Lakers went on to beat San Antonio in game 6 and then closed out the Timberwolves in the Finals. However, they lost the NBA finals to the Pistons.
In 2003-04, Fisher’s contract expired and with Karl Malone and Gary Payton in the team, Fisher was considered surplus to requirements at the Lakers. With most of the Lakers team disbanded, and coach Phil Jackson retired, Fisher moved to the Golden State Warriors for a $37 million deal over 6 years and more importantly, the role of starting point guard. Fisher struggled to make a mark without the likes of Bryant and O’Neill to support his slower playing style. The Warriors had two disastrous seasons and got in Baron Davies to replace Fisher as the point guard. Fisher just averaged 13.3 points per game in a back-up role to Davies.
The Utah Jazz brought Fisher into their team and gave him starts in all 82 games. Fisher averaged 9.5 points with 3.3 assists and 1.01 steals per game. He scored in double figures 40 times in the season and was voted as the President of the NBA Players Association. Fisher declined participation in the 2007 playoffs with the Jazz as he needed to be with his 11-year old daughter who had been diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer.
Post operation in New York, Fisher landed in Utah with Game 2 already underway. With Deron Williams in foul trouble, Fisher arrived at the arena in the third quarter, changed, and was on court without warming up. After being behind for most of the game, the Jazz picked up the pace in the fourth quarter and Fisher came up with a critical defensive stop that helped Baron Davies send the game into overtime. Fittingly, it was Fisher who sealed the win in overtime with a three-pointer. Fisher opted out of his contract with the Jazz in order to spend time with his daughter.
In 2007, Fisher made his return to basketball and came back to Los Angeles for his second stint with the Lakers. Along with Kobe Bryant, Fisher provided some valuable experience to a young team and took up the role of starting point guard.