Who’d have though Utah would have basketball fans every bit as classy as their owner? The Lakers’ Derek Fisher caught an earful from patrons at the Bullshit Nuclear Energy Arena during the Jazz’ home win Friday night, and the Salt Lake Tribune’s Steve Luhm writes, “Fisher expected a warm reception. Instead, he was hit the face with an unexpected snowball.”
Last summer, the Jazz released Fisher from his contract so he could find a team in a city where his young daughter could receive specialized treatment for a rare form of eye cancer, which was diagnosed during the playoffs.
Less than three weeks after becoming a free agent, Fisher signed with the Lakers, apparently creating some ill will among Jazz fans who believe he used his daughter’s illness as a way of getting out of Utah.
They recall his initial lack of enthusiasm after learning of being traded to the Jazz, they point out that the Huntsman Cancer Institute is one of the world’s outstanding medical facilities, and they wonder how happy Fisher was playing out of his natural position — point guard — while Deron Williams emerged as a franchise cornerstone.
Listening to Fisher after the Jazz’s 120-95 win, however, I will pass along my impressions.
Fisher was genuinely hurt by the fans’ booing. It was not the reaction of a player guilty of treasonous behavior toward a franchise, only one who did what he thought was best for his little girl.
I asked Fisher how his daughter, Tatum, is progressing.
Smiling for the only time during a 10-minute interview with the media, he said, “She’s doing wonderful [and] I’m just thankful. When I think back to where we were when we first got the diagnosis and what we were faced with 17 months ago and where we are now …
“[She is] just truly a bundle of joy that brings a smile to my face. And that’s what life is about, you know? We get caught up in other things more than we should at times, when all that really matters at the end of the day is your family and your loved ones. She’s just doing great.”
I think that response was intended for those who booed.