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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Derek Fisher. The man. The controversy.

What's up sports fans. I was sure that the Jazz were going to play with some intensity in Game 2 and come out with a split in LA. Then I woke up. Reality sucks. There is a topic looming out in cyberspace that I want to address.

The Derek Fisher Story as per the LA Times

Wow now that is some intense writing. Put me on the record as saying that Derek Fisher is an amazing father and person. He has played out his career almost without a flaw. Almost. As a soon to be father I can't imagine the sleepless nights and anxiety filled doctor visits that Fish has had to endure. It's something you wouldn't wish on your own enemy. Even a Laker.

Fish did some amazing things for the Jazz organization and matured one of the best young point guards in the league. His mentorship to Deron Williams was invaluable. He taught him how to deal with the media, how to deal with a tough coach, and how to become a leader. Jazz fans should be very grateful for what he turned D-Will into. He also provided us with a Jazz moment that will live in infamy. When I hear the replay of him entering the game after coming straight from the airport, the fans going nuts, there was electricity in the air. I still get goosebumps when he hits that three and the ESA erupts. One of the greatest Jazz of the greatest NBA moments in the past decade. He showed us that the NBA has a human side.

If that video doesn't capture the feeling that night. This home video will.

Thanks D.Fish for an amazing night.

That being said, Laker fans need to back off Jazz fans for the booing of Fish in SLC. I wasn't at the Staples Center when Golden State returned for the first time after Fisher left for the big contract. I am not sure how the crowd reacted. I'm told by Lakers fans that there was a tribute video and standing ovation. Good for you guys. He played there 8 seasons and deserved it. But you certainly weren't cheering for him. Because if you were, you were cheering for the opposing team.

You weren't booing the man who hit 0.4.

You weren't booing the man who helped bring rings to the City of Los Angeles. You were booing the man in the other jersey. The man who left to Oakland for a bigger paycheck and a chance to start. You were booing a Golden State Warrior.

Put yourselves in a Utah Jazz fans' shoes. Fisher had brought you to the highest of highs, only to leave to your rival. Utah embraced Derek Fisher. Fans adored him. He was the perfect fit into "the Jazz system". It was perfect.

Just weeks after the Jazz season ended against the Spurs, a press conference was held. Was Derek Fisher going to retire and commit all his time to his ailing daughter? That is what we all figured would happen. Instead, Larry Miller and the Jazz brass took the highest road you can in professional sports. They let a man who signed by the X on a contract walk away from his own signature. Without a second thought. He turned down 6.5 million dollars to do so. He needed to be closer to proper health care for his daughter Tatum who would require numerous visits to a cancer center in New York.

Where would he go? Knicks? Sixers? Nets? Lakers? Heat? Wait. Did you just say Lakers? Sounded fishy the moment you read it. Didn't it? It did to me and countless other Jazz fans. We knew Derek Fisher loved LA. It was his home for the majority of his career. What a slap in the face to have him choose his old town over his "new" town. It hurt. It hurt bad.

It's hurt like the girl who you took to the dance in high school, only to have her dance a few quick dances with you as she stared at the door waiting for the football stud to walk in the door. And when he did? Boom. She was gone.

So when you saw her at school on Monday and you give her the cold shoulder, she shouldn't be surprised. No matter what the relationship you had with her, the boiling blood running through your veins would take time to simmer down. But it would pass.

And so it was with Derek Fisher. The blood was still boiling in Jazz fans veins when Fisher returned for the first time. We booed him. And goodness, we booed him BAD. Like nothing he had ever seen. It felt good too. Let it all out Jazz fans.

And so it was. Lakers fans need to chill out. LA Times writers need to get over it. Don't expect Fisher to get booed the way he did on his initial return. Our blood has simmered down. Yes, we've grown up. But be warned that he will get booed, so will Kobe, Gasol, Phil and the rest of the dark side. The story in the LA Times was emotional and well written. But stop ragging on Jazz fans for booing. The guy is in a Lakers uniform for heavens sake. We don't like the Lakers. We didn't like Karl Malone as a Laker. Derek Fisher is no different. We loved what he did for us as a Jazz man, but his success as a Laker means nothing to us.

So bring out the Boo Birds on Friday and let's remind the Lakers that we are the most vicious crowd in the NBA. Let's remind them that this series will be tied 2-2 the next time they step foot on the shiny Staples Center floor. Let's remind them that the Utah Jazz are not done and will not go away without a fight.


moneyman memo said...

CB - put simply, a well-timed post. As a fellow Jazz fan, I back up everything in your post and what Booner and UtesFan said in the comments on the previous post regarding Fisher. I love Fisher as a human being, but definitely do not appreciate him choosing and being a Laker. He, along with every other Laker, deserves to be booed. It's in our blood as Jazz fans.

Jeff from LA said...

Well, you guys better treat him a little nicer because it almost seems like the boos he got are motivating him. He's playing out of his mind right now. 6 steals that first game, 22 points the second.

Amazing_Happens said...

It fine to boo him, but boo him as you would any non-star opponent, not because you think he defrauded your franchise.

Anonymous said...

Feel free to explain why you boo Fisher, but stay away from your ill informed judgments about the reaction of laker fans. When Fish returned to Staples after signing with Golden State he was welcomed back with cheers and applause.

C.B. Jack said...

People booed him. You know it. I know it. It's not a big deal. It's old news.

Read the post again and you will see that I said not everyone booed him.

Anonymous said...

for evidence, here was Fisher's reaction from his first game in L.A. against the Lakers.

"I came here to win a game and that didn't happen, so it takes a lot of the fun away," Fisher said. "But to have them think enough of me to take a couple of minutes to show their appreciation for what I tried to bring here for eight years, it just feels great."

Don't project your classlessness onto us.

C.B. Jack said...

Eight years > one year

pslakerfan said...


My old boss told me when you criticize someone, first you compliment them, then criticize, then compliment again. Always worked for him so I will give it a try.

I think this was a very well written post, it was to the point, un-emotional, and I now have a greater understanding of the Jazz side of this story. The videos were very helpful to that end.

However I have an issue with a few of your points. First the Laker fans did not boo Derek Fisher at that game. I know, I was there. Every fan in that building (obviously I can't prove that, but you get the point) was cheering for him. We all knew the reason he left was because he wanted a chance to lead a team or at least be a larger part of a team at that time in his career. Don't forget when he left Gary Payton was still a Laker. Everyone respected that he was not going to get the money or opportunity that he deserved.....

The second thing I have an issue with is the idea that you were booing the Lakers and not Derek himself. You know that is BS, I know that is BS, so lets just admit it. Any decent Laker fan who has seen Kobe play in Denver the last 4 seasons knows the difference.

Personally as I have said before on this site I think there is a chance that Derek's reasons for leaving were suspect. I do believe his stated reasons were legitimate, but I think there might have been an ulterior motive. However my point is, and always has been, this:

It doesn't matter!!!! Sometimes it is better to take the high road and let it go and this is one of those times. I just don't think it shows class to boo someone who was a part of your team/family, and left over what was partly/mostly legitimate reasons....

I like the layout of your site....(hey at least it's a complement)

s said...

agree pslaker... saying that people were booing fisher for being a laker is a complete cop out. you say that 8 yrs>1 yr, yet you also say that he provided one of the pivotal moments in team history...

LA fans may not be the epitome of class, but at least they're not passive aggressive insecure fans with an inferiority complex and conspiracy theories, with extremely short memories.

Boozers Hammy said...

Laker fans may not be, "passive aggressive insecure fans with an inferiority complex and conspiracy theories, with extremely short memories.", but your stud player sure is. Kobe's act earlier this season fits that description to a tee. You all should agree to pay the difference in what Fisher left on the table and his current contract is worth because if Fisher is still Jazz man today I think Kobe pulls a New Jack City and takes the whole team down with him.

Regarding D-Fish, this is what it boils down to in my oinion. If his daughter is not sick and he still gets the same treatment from Jazz fans I don't think anyone cares about it. Players get booed by their former teams all the time, its not a big deal. Obviously I can't prove this, but it seems like the anger towards the Jazz fans from the Lakers is because there is a child involved in the situation. It's tough to seperate the two (Jazz fans want to and Laker fans don't) which is what makes it such a great debate.

Great post CB.

SFGary said...

Booing Fish viciously? - pretty lame.

Caring about the booing? - even lamer.

Boo your ass off - Fish won't care.

C.B. Jack said...

Series tied 2-2 going back to LA? Fact.

The Machine said...

Nobody really cares what Jazz fan's just an opportunity for Laker fan to rip on them and for the Laker team to get motivated.

Sorry to hear about that school dance, C.B. Sounds like you maybe need some counseling.

Brandt said...

Good post... well captured.

C.B. Jack said...

It's okay. She graduated with three kids anyway, so I'm sure it was for the best.

I appreciate your concern.

akamoroti said...

If you look at it now, it might look suspicious. But if you at it when he signed it is different. At the time he left the better team, the Jazz, to a worse team, the Lakers (were in some serious turmoil, Kobe demanding a trade and such) so it doesn't make sense as a person who wants to win. 2nd he knew he would be starting with the Lakers given Farmar and Smush were the previous point duo. No one knows 100% what the motive was but he didn't know the Lakers would be this good, so you can't say he was just going to try and get a ring.

C.B. Jack said...

Where did I say he left for a ring?

Brigadier Pudding said...

The Fisher/Golden St. analogy that Laker fans are tying to make is a poor one. He signed with the Warriors. The Warriors suck. You can bet the reaction would have been different had Fish signed with, say, the Spurs. Fish would've been given a standing O in his return to ESA had he signed with anyone but the Lakers.

The Jazz get a lot of credit for letting Fish walk away from his contract, but it was a bad business move by Miller and O'Connor to not make some stipulations. Okay, we'll let you out of your contract, but you can't sign with any team in the Western Conference.

Ace said...

anybody who thinks that this series is going back to LA tied 2-2 is crazy. the lakers are going to win one game in utah and finish the jazz off in game 5

akamoroti said...

What is the other motive y'all are talking about him leaving for?

akamoroti said...

What is the other motive y'all are talking about him leaving for?

C.B. Jack said...

It's not the ring. The motive may have been sketchy. That is what we are saying.

The point is, I don't want to hear Lakers fans continue to rag on Jazz for booing D-Fish. When they grow up and become Jazz fans, they can cheer him all they want. Until then, we can boo with class. Lots of class.

UtesFan89 said...

I had a huge post about this, but it didn't post for some reason. To quickly recap...

While I have questioned Fisher's leaving for LA, I would never boo Fisher the person (others might have... I can't speak for them). Things are more important than basketball... his daughter's life definitely falls in that category. The way it ended up just makes it seem weird, but still...

I boo for Fisher the Laker... just like I boo for every other Laker (even ex-Jazz Lakers like Malone) and other players on other teams.

You boo the opponent... everyone does that.

While I have no problem with cheering for Fisher at the introductions, you have to boo at him afterwards, don't you? I mean... he's an opponent trying to beat you.

C.B. Jack said...

Agree 100% UtesFan

Daleicious said...

FACT: The series will not come back to LA.

Erica said...

Most Utah fans are still missing the point. When you guys booed Fish that night, right at the start, it was NOT because he was a Laker. It was because, in your eyes, he was a traitor.

In other words, who else do you AUTOMATICALLY boo before they push your guys or earn easy free throws?? Maybe Kobe. That's it.

When you say you treat him like any other opposing player - I just laugh. That's a thinly veiled cover for the true reason.

You see him as a traitor, plain and simple. That's the reason you boo and you should admit it. You think he used his daughter's illness to his advantage to wiggle out of his contract. It's a rational sentiment - I just think that if you really believe that, then you don't really know Fish.

To sum up: Laker fans don't really care WHAT you do at this point. Our team is flying in and it's going to send your guys to an early summer vacation. The more you boo, the more riled up Kobe will get, the more threes Fish will make, the more rebounds LO will grab, the more easy finishes Gasol will have at the rim. The more you boo, the quicker your guys go fishing with George Karl, Carmelo, and AI.

So please go ahead and boo. Just stop making fools of yourselves by coming up with all these excuses.

When Luke Walton touches the ball for the first time, your crowd won't utter a sound. When Fish touches the ball, your crowd will go ballistic. To everybody watching this series, this will be proof that Salt Lake City fans are pretty callous and don't have much compassion. Whether you agree or not, that WILL be the impression being sent out. You don't boo because he's a Laker. You boo because you think he exploited his daughter's illness to deliberately screw over your team. You boo because your owner took the high road by releasing him but then changed his mind and came up with a neat conspiracy theory to get you to buy more tickets. All I can say is - his plan his worked... until now: the end of your season.

- Miguelinho

Erica said...

(That was a favor for Miguelinho...who still refuses to make an account)

mikeintosh said...

This whole post is ridiculous.

First of all, the series will never be tied 2-2. The jazz foul too much and the Lakers are taking the physicality and throwing it right back in their faces with near perfect offensive execution and efficiency.

Second, the Jazz were completely out of line booing Derek Fisher. Your team would not be where it was without him (as you stated in the post). But saying that its okay to viciously boo someone whose family has been through so much is ridiculous. I can't wait till we drop another 120 points on your porous defense and come out of this 3-1 or 4-0. Thanks for your time, guys!

UtesFan89 said...

Look... we're not saying that fans didn't boo because they viewed Fisher as a traitor. I'm sure plenty of people viewed for that reason (I'm also certain there were some fans who had no idea what had happened and were just there to boo a guy that had gone to a rival). But that doesn't mean that all Jazz fans booed him for that reason. So grouping all of us in with the same people that threw stuff at Bruce Bowen and uttered harsh things at the Warriors is kinda overkill, no?

Oh, as for not booing Luke Walton... it might be so. Partially because he's never done anything much to make himself stick out in the minds of Jazz fans (clutch shot with 0.4 seconds left in a game? nope. dagger 3 after dagger 3? nope.), and partially because he's not an ex-Jazzster on the Lakers (like Malone and now Fisher). There's been very little reason to remember who Walton is...

barry said...

laker fan here... i agree, this whole thing has been blown quite out of proportion. i hope you jazz fans out there don't take it personally, as i feel that it has grown into a more global discussion of "what should be considered overboard re: negative fan interaction w/ the players", and jazz fans are kinda getting dragged along for the ugly ride. as far as i can tell, you guys truly love your team, and that's all the jazz can ask for. and you're right - you had (and have) every right to boo fish. as long as fans (not saying SLC, just generally speaking) don't cross the line into inappropriately demeaning remarks, then cheer and boo away.

my two cents: if the lakers sucked, derek probably would've been cheered when he went to utah. the problem w/ this picture is that the lakers are playing killer ball, and fish is a big part of it. think about it, though - as of last summer the dude left the jazzr to (1) go to a worse team (projected to finish 8th/9th in the conference in the preseason), and (2) get LESS PAY!! if he went to LA thinking that he'd be getting farther into the playoffs with them than with the jazz, then miss cleo better be careful because fish will put her OUT OF BUSINESS. i think that the fact that it worked out so well for the lakers is what sucks in the minds of jazz fans, but i just don't see how anyone can think that that's what fish was thinking when he asked to be released from his contract. things just worked out for the guy, you know? and "things working out" also has the unfortunate caveat of him being in a permanent state of worry/concern over one of his children, regardless of whether the lakers win the championship or finish last in the league (which is why laker fans get their panties all in a bunch at the thought of booing the guy).

ThePointman said...

I was watching this on ESPN where they were discussing this.

Booing during a game is understandable.

But the reaction against Fisher was far beyond just the booing. Utah fans were publicly demonizing Fisher saying that he used his daughter as an excuse to go back to his old team. I even saw that same opinion here in a reply by a regular poster. That's what disgusts the rest of this country. And why Utah fans are receiving jeers.

A little girl with cancer is FAR more important than a game. CANCER is real, a game is a game. They just don't compare. Especially not in a father's eyes, like Fisher. We all know that.

But Utah fans had a "Team pride" reaction to this. Where their decisions and moral evaluations were driven by team pride and not humanity over father with a sick little girl. "Fisher used his daughter to get back to the Lakers", that is an illogical statement.

First he went from the team leader to a role player. And he went to a team that at the time was MUCH worse than the Jazz. A team that for the last four years, a 50-50 team that did HORRIBLY in the playoffs. Plus Kobe was being a primadonna and demanding a trade. It was a media circus. 2007 LAKERS was a NBA JOKE.

Plus he lost over SIX MILLION DOLLARS to do it.

He chose a little girl over a game.

That's a noble sacrifice. But Utah fans were blind to the sacrifice.(Or don't care) All they saw was "he used his daughter" to leave MY team. And that is why the rest of this country is jeering the fans.

I think the Utah Jazz is a magnificent team. I LOVE their consistency and discipline for a full 48 minutes. And I think they will win this 3rd game. Though winning 4 out of 5 games against this Laker teams is pretty improbable. But I am hoping for games I can be PROUD of on BOTH sides.

But this damnation of a father, who still has a sick girl who still cries during her painful examinations still, that disgusts me.

I hope it ends.

Lets just play ball. Boo or cheer. But please stop discrediting Fisher outside of the court.

Erica said...

Congratulations. I guess the sweep was not to be.

fan since 8 5 said...

Is anyone else out there tracking this? How was Kobe's bank off the glass to himself-which then lead to a lay up-not a travel?

Neil said...

The thing most people outside of Utah don't realize is that we boo EVERYBODY. We're the most intimidating and loud arena in the NBA for a reason. I was at the game and I thought we booed everybody equally.

It's pretty funny, too, hearing Laker fans tell us why we were booing. I was there, I know why I booed. He's not on my team anymore. It's part of being in the crowd. You boo the opposing team. He was great for a year while he was here, but I didn't feel all that emotionally attached to him. I don't feel like I should have given him a standing O.

I find it incredibly ironic that Kobe can call anybody classless. At best he cheated on his wife. At worst he raped a girl and paid her to drop the lawsuit.

mrnjpeterson said...

Just more proof that the Jazz fans are the biggest poor sports in the nation. Seriously I have been a lot of places but you guys are really classless.

Also I don't follow your logic in your blog. According to you if a guy has been with a team for a while he should receive accolades when he returns with another team. Is that how Jazz fans treated Malone? So which is it? Treat the guy special that was there one year or many years? But but Karl stiffed us to try and get a ring... see there's always some lame ass excuse why you can't accept anything but your Jazzocentric Universe. There is only one reason I hate the Jazz and that's because of the piss-poor fans.