Derek Fisher, Los Angeles Lakers
by Mike Sandrolini
Through hard work, determination and applying the talents he has been blessed with, Derek Fisher's game has developed tremendously over the years. Fisher, a former Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year at Arkansas-Little Rock, was the Los Angeles Lakers first round selection in the 1996 NBA draft. Since arriving in Los Angeles, Fisher has worked his way into the starting lineup and has helped the Lakers win three straight NBA Championships. "There's only one person who can have that type of impact on my life," said Fisher, "and that would be Jesus."
Doug Greengard is the host/producer of the Christian Sports Minute, a radio feature airing on nearly 350 stations in North America. To receive Heroes of Faith, a book filled with 24 stories of well-known sports figures, send $10 to Greengard Family Ministries, P.O. Box 113013, Metairie, LA 70011-3013. Visit the website at www.christiansportsminute.com
In the same way, Fisher's walk with Christ has become more of, you might say, a 'fast break.' The 6-foot, two-inch Fisher committed his life to Christ at a young age and, growing up in a Christian home, enjoyed the benefits of knowing Jesus as his Lord and Savior. "As I've gotten older, my personal relationship has grown," he said. "And now, I'm able to realize that He's the source of my strength and that's where everything comes from and starts. It's through Him. To play 100 games a year, Gatorade isn't the only thing that's going to help you do that. You need to know The Source and Jesus Christ is The Source for me."
Fisher has accomplished much during his career, but that is not to say everything has gone perfectly - or even close to it. There have been plenty of disappointments and challenges along the way. Among those was a foot injury that sidelined him during part of the past two seasons. "I know that I wouldn't have gotten through that and back to the point where I am without Him being there for me," Fisher said.
More than connecting for the game-winning shot or making a dazzling pass to a Laker teammate, Fisher's goal is to allow others to see Christ in him. "It's a great feeling to know that people are paying attention," he added, "not just to the way a guy performs or how many points he scores or what his athletic achievements are, but really the personal decisions that he's making in his life. Fans of sports appreciate when you're a complete person. I think it's impossible to be complete without Jesus being the centerpiece where everything revolves around Him."
From God's standpoint, that is a slam-dunk for Fisher.