July 10, 2007, - 8:44 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Been meaning to get to this for some time. Would you give up $21 million dollars to attend to your daughter’s eyesight?
While many fathers love their daughters just as much, few will ever know if they would actually walk away. NBA star Derek Fisher does, and that’s why I think he’s the Father of the Year.
Fisher asked the Utah Jazz to release him from his NBA contract–with 3 years and $21 million in guaranteed salary remaining–so that he could concentrate on continued treatment of his 12-year-old daughter’s rare form of retinal eye cancer. The combination of specialists she needs are not available in Salt Lake City (home of the Jazz) and are only available in a few cities. (Read these two commentaries (here and here) on Fisher’s incredible moral character.)
Life for me has always outweighed the game of basketball.
I know it’s hard for people to imagine at this point what I’m giving up and what my family and I are giving up in terms of what we’ve established in my career and this contract that I worked my entire life to secure. It’s the risk that we have to take at this point.
There are just some decisions in life that you make, and they’re just the right decision to make, and you can’t worry about or be overly concerned with what’s to come after when you’re just doing it for the right reasons.
Yes, there are many loving fathers around America who cannot afford–unlike Fisher–to quit working. They have never made the multi-millions he has already earned in his NBA career.
Still, it’s doubtful that many have faced the incredible moral test that faced Fisher. And he stood up to the test, making the right decision. At age 32, he is in the twilight of most NBA careers and will likely never see this kind of money again. And remember, per NBA guaranteed contracts, the money was his, just for showing up . . . even if he endures a career-ending injury.
That’s what Fisher walked away from. And it’s a great lesson for all Americans, especially those who envy the conventional NBA life-style.
Derek Fisher–Hero, Loving Father, and the Anti-dote to the Allen Iversons of the world. This is the kind of role model we need more of in the NBA and all of the pro sports leagues.
Tags: America, basketball, Derek Fisher, eye cancer, National Basketball Association, NBA, pro sports leagues, Salt Lake City, USD, Utah Jazz