No one ever accused Derek Fisher as being soft in his almost 16 years as a player in the NBA. Now the union that he once was a part of is feeling his wrath. Executive Director of the NBA Players Association Billy Hunter has been placed on indefinite leave and it was Fisher that was the catalyst for the change. Fisher, himself the president of the NBAPA, requested the Dallas Mavericks release him last December as it seems he had already made plans for his future.
Coming out of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock no one could imagine the professional career Fisher would have. Five championships later he has become one of the most respected athletes in the league. It was this respect that had some of the league and it’s player’s ears during the last lockout. He was critical of Hunter’s handling of the lockout in 2011 and was the voice of the players in front of the media. The leadership shown then propelled Fisher into the position he is in now. Fisher used the ramifications of the lockout and pushed for a review of all of Hunter’s dealings. The review which was released last month didn’t paint a rosy picture.
The review is filled with bad dealings, family handouts and moves only for the betterment of Hunter. The mismanagement of his own position and in the eyes of many players his mismanagement of the lockout will make his indefinite leave a permanent one come All-Star weekend. Fisher has called for a union meeting and a vote to discuss the future of the NBAPA. The discussion will inevitably lead to calls for Fisher himself to take full control and leadership.
It’s hard for most athletes to realize their careers have come to an end. Some play too long and hurt their legacy. Some disappear only to be found in police blotters or tax evasion news stories. Fisher is different. He identified his goals a long time ago and used the lockout for his own benefit. He pushed and made his own future. It’s a great move for his career but whether it’s a good move for the union and its players is another story not yet to be told.
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