Lakers vs. Celtics, Game 3: L.A.’s Derek Fisher the King for a Night

"Fame," O.J. [Simpson. Yes, that one.] said, walking along, "is a vapor, popularity is an accident, and money takes wings. The only thing that endures is character."

"Where'd you get that from?" [A.C. "You Know Who He Is, Dammit"] Cowlings asked.

"Heard it one night on TV in Buffalo," O.J. said. "I was watching a late hockey game on Canadian TV and all of a sudden a guy just said it. Brought me right up out of my chair. I never forgot it."

-David Halberstam's epigraph, quoting a Paul Zimmerman Sports Illustrated article, to The Breaks of the Game, almost universally acknowledged as the best book about basketball that was and ever will be written

It seems like Derek Fisher has stood in the shadow of giants his whole career.

Maybe that's because the giants stand on his shoulders.

Let's begin with the start of his professional career, when the Lakers plucked him out of the basketball backwater of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (not to be confused with Nolan Richardson's Fayetteville powerhouse from the mid-90s) with the 24th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft:

Hubie Brown said it himself. "Everyone is sitting here saying, 'Who is this kid?'"

Fans and opposing players have kept saying it—well, maybe except for the "kid" part—throughout Fisher's career. Until Fish again reminds them that he belongs, up front and center stage.

Even so, he seems to thrive on being ignored until it counts. Like Bruce Willis's character in Pulp Fiction , that's how you keep beating them, Fish.

They keep underestimating you.

The Boston Celtics are just the latest victim. Like John Travolta's character in that same film, the Celtics were caught walking out of the bathroom unaware and unarmed (though with Ray Allen's aim last night, maybe that's a good thing).

Derek Fisher has been the Lakers' brown shoes to the re...

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