After practice today, Lakers veteran and three-time NBA Champion Derek Fisher reflected on NBA players’ differing values as they go through various stages of their careers.
“I think if you ask most guys, it’d be winning a championship,” said Fisher, when asked what is most important to players. “I think it would vary depending on the guy; there are some guys who have been in the game for a long time who never got that opportunity to get that big contract so if they’ve got a big contract, I’m sure they would take advantage of it.”
“But, a lot of guys in our league have made a great living and made more money than they have to make to have a good life. I think winning a title would be the thing most guys would say, above any and all things in professional sports, that’s what I want to experience.”
As a teammate to a player that has experienced both individual and team success in Kobe Bryant, Fisher says that sometimes, it takes players a while to realize which is more important to them.
“I think you start to kind of see that natural evolution take place as guys move through their career,” said Fisher. “You think about all of the individual awards that so many great players have won in the past. They get to a place in their career where championship trophies and championship rings–that’s the trophy, that’s the holy grail that everyone wants to have and continue to win as they move through their careers.”
As fans and the organization await word on this season’s MVP recipient, Derek said, “I think that Kobe’s in that place in his career where 12 years in, there isn’t anything else he needs to do to separate himself from anybody else individually. How he will separate himself from in terms of being one of the greatest players to ever play the game will be in how many championships his teams win. I know he wants to keep that clock going up to four, five, six, seven, however high he can hit it.”
Although each season raises questions about what criteria a player must meet to win the MVP award, Fisher says that Kobe not only had a tremendous statistical season, but also excelled as a teammate.
“If you saw what Andrew Bynum was doing before he got injured…If you saw Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Ronny Turiaf and myself and Lamar Odom…I think everybody can reasonable say that they were better this year because of what he was able to do and has been able to do,” said Fisher. “I think all the so-called criteria have been met and he’s deserving of it.”