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Derek Fisher: Exit Interview

June 16, 2009 | 11:57 pm

During his official end-of-the-season exit interview Tuesday afternoon in El Segundo, Derek Fisher had some very interesting comments on Kobe Bryant, and what motivates him as a player:

"Imagine if you felt as though you personally wanted to, and had the ability to be the best person to ever do (something).  Ever.  To ever hold a camera, to ever write a newspaper, to ever teach a class.  If you felt like you could possibly be the best person to ever do it, in the world, how hard would you go after it?  Would you lose a lot of sleep over what other people thought you should be doing, if you felt like you could be the best to ever do it?  That's a conversation I've never had with myself, in terms of being the best person to ever play basketball, but that's where he lives.  He lives in that place of, "I want to be the best to ever have done this."  Not just the best Laker, not just the best guard.  "I want to be the best."  That's all he strives for."

Earlier in the clip (embedded below) Fish also notes that Bryant "lets more people in, but still keeps the same competitive fire and desire," whether in his interactions with other players or even with fans. Combine the determination described above with a greater openness and the natural maturity that comes with age and experience, and it's no surprise Kobe has been able to allow his approach to the game and leadership skills to evolve in a positive way. 

The full clip, with much more below the jump:

Here, Fish is asked if he's had a chance to put his big threes in Game 4 of the Finals in perspective, relative to the rest of his career. No, he said, but there was some impact when he saw Tuesday's paper, which listed the five biggest shots Lakers playoff history. "The first time I looked at it, I just saw it. Then I looked at it again, and I said out loud, "I'm on there twice." The impact of that, given all the incredible playoff moments in the history of the franchise, was big.

I asked him if he planned to tape that bad boy to Kobe's locker. Fish smiled,"I need a puppet, right?"

Fisher was asked if Phil Jackson gave any clues as to his status for next season. "We did talk about the future," he said. "I didn't get the feeling leaving that he wasn't going to be my coach next season. But as you guys know, as well as i've learned, just because that's the card that he's showing doesn't necessarily mean that's the one he's going to play. But for all intents and purposes, I could be wrong, but I just think that we have a collection of players and with the veteran leadership of Kobe and myself I think that he can feel good about the ability to coach and manage this team. I think he sees Kobe and myself as extensions of him, and that all the work is not just on him to continue to help the team mature and grow the way we need to."

From there, he praises extensively the team building ability of Mitch Kupchak.

Finally, Fish talks about the happiness he's felt since winning again. The fourth, he said, feels just like the first.