Why I Want the Lakers To Win Tonight
And it's not just because the Orlando Magic eliminated the Celtics in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
No, it's because Derek Fisher has had what is probably the biggest emotional ride that any parent could have.
During the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals, his daughter Tatum was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer. She had surgery and chemotherapy in New York just before Game Two between the Utah Jazz (Fisher's team in 2007) and the Golden State Warriors tipped off.
After the surgery was complete, Fisher and his family flew cross-country from New York to Salt Lake City, and Fisher entered the game at the start of the third quarter. He made the only shot he took that night—a three-pointer.
After the Jazz were eliminated from the playoffs in the next round, he asked the Jazz to release him from his contract, citing that the state of Utah did not have enough specialists to treat Tatum.
On July 19, 2007, Fisher signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. The fact that L.A. has a much wider range of specialists than Salt Lake was a large factor in his choosing the Lakers.
He's now two years into his new contract, and the Lakers have gone to the NBA Finals two straight years. Tatum is three years old and doing fine, though she receives regular checkups.
I, like many people, have been touched by cancer. My father died on June 2, 2005 after a long battle with leukemia. When I heard Derek's story, I immediately felt sorry for Fisher and his family.
I have no idea what it's like to wonder if your child is going to live or die, but it must be misery. Now consider that Fisher had to play a game in an NBA Playoff series wondering if his daughter was doing all right.
Now that she is doing fine, Fisher deserves to bring an NBA Championship ring home to his family.
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