Derek Fisher accepts sportsman of the year award from L.A. Sports Council
As Lakers guard Derek Fisher stood center stage at the Beverly Hilton on Thursday for the annual L.A. Sports Awards, play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers made a quick remark to the team's co-captain.
"Let's keep doing this."
Fisher was just about to accept two awards from the L.A. Sports Council: one honoring the Lakers' 16th championship as the top sports moment of the year, and the sportsman of the year honor. He is the third consecutive Laker to win the award, following Pau Gasol (2010) and Kobe Bryant (2009). The award prompted Fisher to wax nostalgic about his relationship with the city and his involvement with the Lakers' youth foundation. But Fisher also recognized the Lakers' ability to win.
"Every season is filled with different stories and reasons why teams do well and teams win a championship or not," Fisher said. "There are lots of things that we can all pick apart as to why a team was successful or not. For our team the last couple of seasons, our teams have had some ups and downs and we had moments where even amongst ourselves, we continued to question, 'Can we take this to where we want to go?' And that's to the top of the NBA. So even currently as we go through the ups and downs of another regular season, we make an attempt to a fourth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals and third consecutive NBA championship, there isn't anything more important to our group than that one thing and that one goal."
The ceremony illustrated how the Lakers' stake in winning largely influences the rest of the city. The ceremony featured special tributes to the late John Wooden, but the Lakers' championship eclipsed his passing as the year's top moment. Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena won the coach of the year award, but he remarked, "I'd like to thank [Lakers coach] Phil Jackson for stepping out this year for this award." Figure skater Evan Lysacek shared that the work ethic of unnamed Lakers helped inspire him to win the gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics. And Jerry Buss' induction to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and Lamar Odom's role in the 2010 FIBA World Championships were considered the third and eighth top moments, respectively.
"Even when we've had our bad days and those nights when we haven't looked like a quote-unquote championship team, we all still came back into the locker room and continued to band together as brothers and to push ourselves into the best team we can be," Fisher told the audience. "We recognize in terms of expectations. There isn't anything less this city expects of us, which is to be champions. That's what we strive to be every single night. I pledge to you on behalf of my team with this award that we'll give everything that we have."
Note: The Times' Clippers beat writer, Lisa Dillman, will be hosting a live chat at 3 p.m. Expect plenty of questions about the Clippers trading Baron Davis, Blake Griffin's dunks and the state of the team. Considering the Clippers play the Lakers on Friday night, feel free to join in and throw in some questions about the game as well.
-- Mark Medina
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