The Los Angeles Lakers have won five NBA championships since 2000. As is common knowledge, Kobe Bryant has played on each one of those teams. What some people don't know, however, is that Lakers' point guard Derek Fisher has also been a member of every championship team.
Despite being a minor role-player on the team, Fisher has started and played consistently. His five NBA Finals wins rank second all-time amongst NBA point guards (behind only Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics, with six).
But the five-time champion isn't known for his on-the-court abilities.
Fisher is a leader, and he's been the team captain on every one of the Lakers teams he's been a part of, with or without a starting role.
Throughout his career, the captain has played both off the bench and in starting lineups—his willingness to accept either role distinguishes him as a man that truly cares for the sport.
Many sports analysts recognize Fisher's phenomenal trademark among the NBA's most respected players—one went as far as calling him the equivalent to Derek Jeter in terms of what he means to the league itself.
Fans, on the other hand, aren't as generous. While Laker fans don't seem to mind him when the team is winning, nearly every fan calls for his head after a playoff loss. When Los Angeles is losing, Fisher is known as the sole reason for the loss; the poor defender, the terrible shooter, the weak link.
But when the team's winning, he's the leader, ideal role-player and guy who makes clutch shots after setting everybody else up.
On the court, he's somewhere in-between. He's not the hero all the time; nor is he the only cause for a losing effort. It's not his performance on the court, though, that has given the point guard his reputation.
Here are a few things many Laker fans don't remember or never knew about Derek Fisher:
1. The man sacrificed $8 million in his contract just to ensure that his young daughter, who had recently contracted an advanced case of retinoblastoma, would receive premium treatment for her retinal disease.
2. Despite his stardom, Fisher hasn't forgotten his roots. In 2005, he was given the NBA Community Assist Award for donating a whopping $700,000 to fund an auxiliary gym at his alma mater (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)
3. While he enjoys his offseason, the point guard dedicates time to giving back to the community of Los Angeles by color-commentating Sparks games for the WNBA.
4. Although Derek Fisher has definitely had an illustrious career, his most respected position has been in league management. In 2006, he was elected President of the NBA Player's Association.
For a player that likely won't be inducted into the Hall of Fame, this résumé is nothing short of spectacular. Unlike many great players, though, Fisher's jersey will not be hung in the rafters. His statistics will never put him in a discussion with the all-time greats. And his on-court reputation won't make him memorable.
In fact, Fisher's reputation as a modern-day role model will forever transgress beyond any basketball court.