Mr. Fisher or fish, I’d like to officially apologize to you. Why? Well let’s just say that if you were to go back in time to about 4 weeks ago, to the Houston series, you’d find that I like many other Laker fans, were calling for your head (figuratively speaking of course).
You were slow and too old and the game had clearly passed you by. There was, of course, absolutely no malice towards you as we all appreciated your numerous contributions to the 3-peat teams way too much for that. We just simply didn’t want to see you on the floor anymore, assuming that your days of hitting clutch and timely shots were a thing of the past.
Your defense had become like a turnstile, ushering opposing point guards to the rim; yet I, like many others, failed to remark on how none of your teammates were doing their part to help clog the lane (it is after all called team defense for a reason). Your perceived defensive shortcomings wouldn’t have been as bad if your shots had been falling but rather uncharacteristically they weren’t. And sadly, in many of our minds, you had become no more valuable than say, Sasha Vujacic.
Well I, for one, am very glad that you were on the floor at the game’s most crucial moments last night. Those two 3’s you hit (one to force overtime and the other to clinch it) are the biggest shots I’ve seen, from a Lakers’ perspective, since Robert Horry nailed that game winner to even the WCF with Sacramento at 2-2 in 2002. It’s been 7 very long years for us Lakers fans and with one more win we can stop looking back longingly to the days of the Shaq and Kobe era. With one more win, basketball historians will be able to so say that Shaq and Kobe won 3 straight titles together but that each of them also won a 4th without each other, (truly cementing them was one of the greatest tandems in NBA history).
Each of them has had help though out their title runs. It would be huge blunder not to point how significant a role Dwayne Wade played in Shaq’s 4th (along with guys like Mourning, Walker and Payton). It would be just as erroneous not to point out how significant Gasol, Odom and Ariza have been towards Kobe’s 4th (assuming they can get that one more win. Please Basketball gods… No injuries). They both can also thank you Mr. Fisher. They can both thank you for your numerous timely jumpers or the many times in which you’ve drawn a charge on the defensive end during key moments in a big game. They can both thank you for being one the smartest players on the floor.
Lakers history is full of championship highlights. Horry’s shot mentioned above, Magic’s sky hook against the Celtics at the garden, etc… Mr. Fisher, I’d like to officially welcome you to the highlight reel.
PS: I’d also like throw an apology Phil Jackson’s way. There is a very good reason he’s on the doorstep of becoming the first coach in NBA history to win 10 championships.