L.A. Lakers notebook: Derek Fisher gets razzed by teammate about age
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Not that Derek Fisher needed a reminder of his advanced NBA age — something his younger teammates often do a good job of — but he got the equivalent of being offered the senior-citizen discount on Monday.
Recalling his elementary days, literally, Jordan Farmar played show-and-tell with something that accentuated the 35-year-old Fisher's extended stay in the NBA.
After Los Angeles' practice, Farmar was handed a scrapbook-type photo collection that included a picture of him from the sixth grade posing with a Laker.
The L.A. player?
Derek Fisher, of course.
Fisher, a 14-year veteran, grinned and groaned when asked about his senior moment.
"Only because there's photographic evidence," he said, "it is a true story."
Lakers coach Phil Jackson chuckled after seeing the photo that the-now-23-year-old Farmar had taken with Fisher oh-so-many years ago when his teammate spoke at his school.
And he wasn't the only Laker to get a good laugh.
"That was kind of an interesting thing for him," Jackson said. "(Farmar) thought it was pretty remarkable, actually. ... That's youth and that's a veteran for ya."
Fisher didn't autograph the photo for Farmar, and he good-naturedly admitted "Jordan's definitely one-up in a big way on that one" in the teammate teasing material department.
"I work with a guy that was in the sixth grade when I first came into this business," added Fisher, who was a rookie in 1996. "So, yes, it's pretty humbling, but I guess very positive as well."
The Lakers, when they're not razzing him, sure think so. The veteran leader scored 10 points in the Lakers' 104-99 Game 1 win Sunday in yet another solid outing against the Utah Jazz.
"I think he's done a remarkable job of staying attached to the speed, the quickness, the physical nature of this game and how to recover between game to game," Jackson said. "It's not an easy task for a guy that's his age."
His old (but younger) Jazz teammates are equally impressed with the guy who played in Utah during the 2006-07 season.
"I've seen first-hand his work ethic and how hard he goes," Jazz point guard Deron Williams said. "We use the same shooting coach, so the workouts that he does are great. He's always in great shape. He doesn't look 35."
Fisher still has one bragging right over his much-younger teammate: Farmar is still his backup. Fisher laughed when reminded of that silver lining and added, "Only because I've been here so much longer."
SURGERY DELAYED: Lakers' center Andrew Bynum plans on continuing to play despite having a slight tear in his right knee's lateral meniscus.
After piling up 10 rebounds and eight points Sunday, the 7-footer said he's holding off having surgery because doctors told him that playing with the injury won't damage it further.
"It's something I feel like I can play through," Bynum said, "so I'm just going to go ahead and do that."
Added Jackson: "He says it isn't any worse for the wear today than it was yesterday, so that's a good sign."
LAKER LEADER: Sunday's win was No. 103 in the postseason for Jackson with Los Angeles, vaulting him ahead of Pat Riley (102) for all-time playoff victories as the Lakers' coach.
Jackson now has a playoff coaching record of 214-93. He also has a total of 10 NBA titles as a coach and two as a player during a career that has included stops in New York, Chicago and L.A.
Asked whom he felt the most allegiance to, Jackson recalled receiving a gift for an NBA honor. The jacket, he laughed, had "Knicks on the inside and the Bulls on the outside." Now he'd like a new jacket with Lakers mixed in with the other two.
"The reality is," Jackson added, "that you love the one you're with, and right now the Lakers is where I'm at home."
KOBE MVP?: M-V-P-chanting Staples Center fans might disagree, but Kobe Bryant expressed no qualms with how voting turned out for the league's top individual honor. On Sunday, LeBron James was named Most Valuable Player again, followed by Kevin Durant and 2007-08 winner Bryant.
"I think they got it right," Bryant said. "LeBron had an incredible year and Kevin did as well."
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