Every now and then someone does something so remarkable, and so inspiring, you have to sit up and take notice. That’s what happened with Derek Fisher.

The guard for the Utah Jazz basketball team asked to be released from his multi-million dollar contract so he could find the best care for his 11-month old daughter, who has a rare cancer in her left eye.

As Fisher told reporters: “Life for me outweighs the game of basketball.”

Cynics suspect that Fisher is just sniffing around for a better team, or a better deal. Perhaps. But this columnist argues for some perspective:

Too often we see petty differences and stupid contract fights. Too often decisions are made from the positions of greed and power. Made to squeeze the last dollar amount out of a team (hello, Don Nelson?) or made to exert complete control over another human being. [snip]

“I know it’s hard for people to imagine at this point what I’m giving up,” Fisher said. “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.”

The cynics might still see something rotten. If the Lakers sign Fisher, the conspiracy theories will start, as though Fisher would ever have chosen this path. But that’s the sad side of sports we’ve been conditioned to accept.

“We’re sitting here and everybody seems sad about this,” Jazz General Manager Kevin O’Connor said. “I think what we should be is grateful there is somebody that cares as much about his family. And somebody that owns the team and cares as much for the same reasons.”

Fisher doesn’t know if he’ll get another job, noting that he’s only 6-foot-1 and averages about 10 points a game.

“I don’t know how many people feel strongly about what I do,” he said.

He was talking about on the court. On life’s court, I think he’ll find many people feel very strongly about what he does.

Hard to argue with that. Hard to argue with Fisher’s choice. And it’s hard not to see in all of that the seeds of a message, and a homily, that some basketball lover this weekend should be preaching.

Photo: Derek Fisher, from the NBA

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