Fisher bailed Bryant and Los Angeles out many a night with his timely, big-game shooting and persistent hard-nose defense. Phil Jackson took note of it all en route to winning five NBA titles with Bryant and Fisher as his back court.
Believe me when I tell you, Jackson knows exactly what he’s getting in anointing the 38-year-old Fisher signal-caller of the Knicks for the next five-years at the eye-popping cost of at least $25 million. For greater perspective on such an extravagant price-tag, consider that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, the league’s 2011 Coach of the Year Award winner, and has averaged 51 wins over his first four seasons in Chicago still doesn’t earn what Fisher stands to make to start his coaching career.
As he stepped to the podium this week to be formally announced as the Knicks’ new coach, Fisher was as big-time as he’s ever been, assuring the win-deprived fans of New York that he plans to transform the Knicks into something they haven’t been for the last 41 seasons.
“I am experienced,“said Fisher who played 18 NBA seasons and has also served as president of the NBA Players Association. “Basketball is a game that I am experienced in playing, understanding, leading in, guiding in, helping another group of people achieve the greatest gift in the world as a professional athlete, and that’s being a champion. That I have experience in, and that’s the experience that I plan on sharing with these players, sharing with this organization.”
Indeed, Fisher and Jackson are two of a kind, two basketball savants who “embrace” the challenge of changing the Knicks’ culture and rescuing the storied franchise from itself. The Knicks last won an NBA title in 1973, if Jackson and Fisher have their way, the franchise will erase all that heartache over the next five seasons.
“This is not a ceremony,” said Fisher. “This is not for PR. This is not for Phil and I to hang out again as friends. This is to go to work, get our job done. We want to add more banners to this ceiling in here as we all continue to come back to this building on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis.”
“It’s like a movie that somehow just keeps getting better the longer it goes,” Fisher said of his now NYC headline billing. “I’m thankful that I get to be one of the main characters in this movie. I’m excited about it, I’m looking forward to it. I believe it’s a job that I can handle, that I can do well. I have a lot to learn, a lot of questions to ask that I have to get better at. But the commitment to it is there; there’s no second-guessing what else I should be doing, could be doing. This is what I’m doing. I’m committed to it and I’m looking forward to it.”
And so too should Knicks’ fans.