Friday, May 11, 2007

Derek Fisher is my New Hero!

Outside of the Golden State Warriors knocking off the Dallas Mavericks in round one there really hasn’t been a lot of drama in the first round of the NBA playoffs. That is until Derek Fisher stepped onto the court Wednesday night. Fisher gave the sports world lots of drama but not the kind we are used to with NBA basketball. Fisher’s was real life stuff!

Fisher was AWOL from Utah’s first game against the Warriors while taking care of “personal family issues” and it seemed as if that would be the story for game two as well as the Jazz played the first half without Fisher even being in the building. With starting guard Deron Williams in foul trouble and backup guard Dee Brown gone to the hospital with a neck injury the Utah crowd went absolutely crazy when they saw Fisher run out of the locker room late in the third quarter, crazier when his pressure defense forced a turnover that helped send the game into overtime, and crazier still when he buried a three-point shot from the corner to seal the game in overtime.

However it wasn’t his play on the court that made the headlines it was his courage off the court that has been inspiring the last 48 hours. Last week Derek Fisher and his wife, Candace, found out that their 10-month-old daughter had been diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumor of the retina called retinoblastoma.

With their daughters life at stake the Fishers did what any loving parents would do. They found the best way to treat their baby girl and put her needs as a priority above anything else, including the NBA playoffs and 20,000 hometown fans. That’s what brings us to Wednesday morning.

Fisher woke up early in a New York hotel room, said a prayer for his daughter and then took her to the hospital for an operation in an effort to save her life. Hours later, after the operation was a success and the anesthesia had worn off the Fisher’s baby looked up at them with a grin and Derek knew what he had to do. He had to play basketball! He had to make the big plays, he had to get everyone’s attention, he had to get on television. Not to promote himself or one of his endorsements but to tell parents across the nation on live television to get their children checked for this rare but horrible disease that can not only rob them of their eye site but their lives as well.

Derek Fisher is a hero for all the right reasons. In a world where the NBA image gets bashed on a daily basis its refreshing to see a guy stand up for his family, his faith, and his convictions to make people aware of an illnesses and challenge that could face children everywhere.