The Lakers acquired Kobe Bryant, the 13th pick of the 1996 NBA Draft, by trading Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets. Eleven picks later, they selected Derek Fisher.
Fast forward to February 10, 2010, and both players entered a Wednesday evening game in Utah with 999 career games played.
How about that?
“I didn’t realize it until someone told me today,” said Fisher. “I probably won’t say anything to Kobe just yet … but at some point, I’m definitely going to give him a hard time about it.”
Bryant would have become the first to 1,000 had he played in Portland or against San Antonio, but a sprained ankle kept him out of both contests, the first he had missed since Dec. 8, 2006.
All Fisher had to do to catch up was play in literally every game since April 13 of the 2004-05 season, when he missed a game for the Golden State Warriors with knee inflammation. Since then, he’s appeared in 384 consecutive games, and finally Fisher has one up on Kobe.
“It’s one thing I can say I did before him,” said Fisher. “He’s been the fastest to everything else.”
How has Fisher done it? Lakers Director of Athletic Performance Chip Schaefer needed just one word to describe it: “Dedication.”
Then he added a few more.
“He’s dedicated to a set of principals and a way to live his life that include proper rest and recovery, proper nutrition, hydration and a nutrient-based diet, training and preparing mentally,” said Schaefer. “For a trainer, he’s just the best. It’s all you can ask for.”