Derek Fisher has spent the past two years getting destroyed by opposing point guards, but the somber cloud hovering over his departure from L.A. is a great testament to his NBA legacy.
Watching him get his ankles broken every night makes it easy to forget that Fisher is one of the most successful players in NBA history.
His career numbers of 8.7 points and 3.1 assists per game don't exactly scream "Hall of Fame," but only 13 players in league history have more championship rings. And if you take away the core from the 1950's and '60's Boston Celtics, the list shrinks to four: Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, Robert Horry and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Kobe Bryant, who battled with Fisher during all five of his championship seasons, knows just how special the veteran point guard is. When the Lakers traded him to Houston (who then waived him), Bryant spoke about the five rings he won with Fisher.
"That doesn't happen by accident," said Bryant. "There's a reason why players that have multiple championships have multiple championships. There's a certain characteristic and an understanding and knowledge and that's not something that's easily taught. You kind of have to go through it and it kind of has to be part of your DNA from the beginning."
Fisher certainly had that championship DNA, and this ringing endorsement from Bryant might as well serve as the first paragraph of Fisher's plea to the Hall of Fame voters.
No, Fisher's career numbers aren't great, and he never received any individual awards in the NBA. However, he was an essential ingredient to every Lakers title team in the Kobe Bryant era.
As he runs around with his new Oklahoma City teammates, it's easy to see that Fish is just a shell of the shell of his former self. He gets murdered on a nightly basis and he's no longer a capable NBA starter. But as Bryant's comments alluded to, Fisher was a special player for the majority of his career.
Although Fisher has struggled these past few years, nothing can taint his legacy as one of the greatest champions in NBA history.