Skip navigation
Favorites
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Should the Lakers retire Derek Fisher’s number?

Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher ho

Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher holds the Larry O’Brien Trophy following the Lakers victory in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals over the Boston Celtics at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Kobe Bryant scored 23 points and Pau Gasol had 19 points and 18 rebounds as the Lakers rallied to beat the Celtics 83-79 for their 16th NBA championship. AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)(Photo Credit should Read /AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Few players have won as many championships with one organization as Derek Fisher has with the Los Angeles Lakers. And Fisher wasn’t just a bystander while the Lakers won those five championships -- his statistics were never great, but he made big shots when the Lakers needed him to.

He’s also beloved around the league and in Los Angeles, generally regarded as one of the league’s smartest players and a true class act off the court. He’s provided every intangible generally associated with players who get their numbers retired -- loyalty to the franchise, leadership, and an important figure both in the NBA community and the Los Angeles community.

The post-millenial Lakers are a modern dynasty, and Fisher has always been a part of that dynasty. Here’s the dilemma: with all the success the Lakers have had over the years and how many great players have worn the purple and gold over the years, did Derek Fisher do enough to put his jersey alongside those of the greatest Lakers ever?

M. Haubs of the Painted Area has some thoughts on this dilemma:


Let’s just focus on the L.A. Lakers players with retired numbers. There are seven, and all are Hall of Famers as well:

• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

• Elgin Baylor

• Wilt Chamberlain

• Gail Goodrich

• Magic Johnson

• Jerry West

• James Worthy

Let’s also assume that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal will eventually see their jerseys raised to the rafters. That’s two more Hall of Famers, a standard that Fisher certainly falls far short of...

It’s certainly remarkable, sitting here on championship night, to think that Derek Fisher’s number 2 might not be retired. I’d argue that 28 other teams would do so in a heartbeat...

Yet it’s also hard to believe that, if Derek Fisher is worthy of being immortalized by Laker Nation, that at least Michael Cooper, Byron Scott and Jamaal Wilkes, and possibly A.C. Green, aren’t equally deserving of the honor. I guess that’s why it’s probably good to wait a few years for a different historical perspective, and to get away from the emotion of the championship moment.

Anyone who has watched the Lakers win these past five titles will always remember the contributions made by Derek Fisher. What’s left to decide now is whether his jersey should be hung up and his exploits be made required knowledge for the next generation of Laker fans. Derek Fisher has earned as much respect as any NBA player to ever wear sneakers. Only time will tell if he deserves glory as well.