Just a few ticks before the end of regulation, Tim Duncan scored a fade away 18-foot shot.
The deafening sound of raging decibels went into crackling window panes as the crowd cheered in appreciation. With less than a second to go, the dome came into an abrupt silence when Derek Fisher struck the dagger.
0.4 of a second remaining, and Fisher delivered that famous shot eight years ago at the Alamo dome.
And that’s the funniest thing about noise—it eventually dies down.
Five NBA titles in a 16-year career, Derek was always the reliable veteran who would sacrifice everything for the team. The voice that echoes all throughout the locker room while everyone listens.
209 playoff games and hundreds of victorious battles later, somehow the once sturdy and reliable leader has slowly lost a step, like a light bulb that has gradually faded.
With the Los Angeles Lakers acquiring Ramon Sessions, Fisher knew his time in LA was up.
The Lakers were moving forward, and it was clear that he was not part of the plan. A year or two would have been a perfect time to retire for Fisher. He would have wanted to end his career where it all started.
But anyone becomes dispensable, even All-stars Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum have been in constant trade discussions.
Derek was traded to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill and a first-round draft pick. We knew that this would happen—favoring a young, athletic point guard in Sessions against a veteran who is just two steps away from retiring. However, you can still feel the pain, like a marriage bound for separation.
Thursday night will be such an awkward night for Fisher. His new team, the Oklahoma City Thunder will be playing against the Lakers, and all those screaming fans, those championship banners and the bond that he had tediously built for 16 years will become a distant memory.
Oklahoma City is Derek’s home now. He wanted a young and championship-contending team; he wanted a team who needs him more than he needs them.
It would have been a good fairytale ending if he and Kobe were gunning for their sixth NBA championship and both ended up swinging. But reality has its way of waking us up. Derek will have to ride his final journey on his own, guiding his young team to its first championship.
0.4 of a second, and everything changes in a snap. The noise might die down but the memories continue to echo around on Basketball history.
Derek Fisher, at 37 years old, will continue to deliver championships.
Don’t blink, though, because it could happen fast.