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Derek Fisher becomes NBA's active leader in consecutive games played

December 8, 2010 | 12:45 pm

It was a basketball milestone that, for Derek Fisher, had little to do with basketball.

The Lakers' 115-108 victory Tuesday over the Washington Wizards marked Fisher's 434th consecutive regular-season game, the longest streak for an active NBA player. Fisher reached that milestone after Portland guard Andre Miller ended his 632 consecutive-game streak after serving a one-game suspension Tuesday against Phoenix for shoving Blake Griffin in the Clippers' 100-91 loss Sunday to the Blazers. It wasn't so much being on the leader board that made Fisher proud as it was the amount of work he'd put in to get himself there.

"It's more so that to me than about playing 400-plus basketball games," Fisher said of playing so many consecutive games. Former Laker A.C. Green currently holds the record for the most consecutive games ever played by an NBA player. "There's a lot of days as an athlete where physically you shouldn't be out there. But when you remember those days when your parents or your uncle or grandmother or somebody that had to catch the bus, to get a ride, to get to work. You can't use a sore back, sore neck or sore ankle not to go and lace them up."

Fisher's milestone came on a night he didn't play particularly well, going eight points on 3-of-11 shooting,  including one sequence in which Wizards guard John Wall blocked Fisher's shot while driving through the lane. Laker fans may debate Fisher's worth to the team, but his work ethic is never in doubt. It's something the regular Joe can appreciate, a job that you do despite the frustration and from which you gain satisfaction by surviving the grind.

That's why Fisher's playoff performances over the years are gratifying to see -- they symbolize a  tangible payoff from being relentless. His performances may not always be pretty, and his value may remain in question, but Fisher is tireless in his efforts to hold the Lakers together, as well as in his work as president of the National Basketball Players Assn. And for that, he should be lauded.

-- Mark Medina

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