With Derek Fisher back in the fold for the Lakers, here’s what he had to say on the eve of training camp…
(On this time with Lakers vs. last time)
It’s not like old times. Those things were centered around bigger personalities: Kobe, Shaq and Phil. Right now, obviously there’s a lot centered around Kobe, but outside of that, it’s really about who this team is. What is it really capable of? That’s kind of different than before. Before, everybody knew who this team was and what we were capable of doing. It was just a question of, would we do it? Would we win a championship every year? would we win two or three or four titles? Now, nobody really knows what this team is capable of doing and I think that’s what the questions are. …
Those were some of the most talented, and well-put-together teams in basketball and … Once we tasted that first title, no matter what else was going on, there was still that desire to get that taste again. … We had the two best players in the league, in their primes for the most part, on the same team, that was a lot for our opponents to deal with. now, we’re in a different place.
As Kobe comes into the fold and as we mold as a team, the team will be what we make of it. … Kobe’s always been one of the best, if not the best, at being able to focus, no matter what else is going on with things on the periphery. His focus, once he steps onto the court is unmatched. I think, once he steps back in here will be on playing basketball. if everyone else is on that too, we’ll be OK.
(On the effect his daughter’s condition has had on his life)
I think it’s played a major part in the development of my life as a person and a man, not only in the last four or five months, but I think for the rest of my life as well. Just having an appreciation for life, and my loved ones. Really putting a focus on those things forced me to put my professional life and my career into perspective and I think I’ll really be able to go out and play better, be stronger and play freer, really just enjoy the game with much more passion on my face. I really want to play with passion and have it show on my face because I’m fortunate, I’m lucky, we all are in this room.