Athletes are often called upon by their teams to make hospital visits and other charitable appearances.
Utah Jazz guard Derek Fisher, who spent his first Christmas in Utah on Monday, made his own personal gift-giving sojourn to the Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City, a visit that he chose to do a couple of weeks ago and was able to make happen through members of the Jazz community relations staff.
He'd done some things like that while he was with the Los Angeles Lakers, though they often played the big TV games on Christmas, and when he was with Golden State the past two years.
"I did a couple things during the holidays for select families, and it felt really good, so I just kind of had a thought to do something similar again," Fisher said. "The hospital ended up being the choice that was made, and I think it was a great choice."
There were about four or five youngsters in the hospital, a couple from as far away as Mexico who weren't able to go home for the holiday.
"They were able to make their wish list for Santa, and I just went down the lists and got them everything they wanted, basically," Fisher said.
The trip gave back to Fisher, of course.
"You really get to see how, just doing simple things, how good it makes you feel to be able to help somebody else or to do something that provides joy for another person," he said.
Fisher said he remembers always being with his family in Little Rock, Ark., when he was young.
"I just can't imagine what it must feel like to have to be in a hospital for Christmas, so I wanted to try and bring Christmas to them as much as I could," he said.Most of the kids were hospitalized for injuries or surgeries, some spinal, and are expected to go home eventually. Each had a parent there but not the whole family.
WANTED MAN: Former Ute Andre Miller is apparently appreciated in Philadelphia since being traded there for Allen Iverson recently. He had nine points and 11 assists in his first game for his new team. "I like having a point guard like we have in Andre," 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "He's a guy that relishes playing with the ball and getting guys the ball in the right place and at the right time. It's an opportunity for everybody to score, not just one guy.
"I've got new players that are key players, Andre being the main one. We're looking forward to starting over with the guys we have, even though we're into the season."
Meanwhile, Miller's other former team, Cleveland, is in need of a scoring-able point guard, and media there are suggesting the Cavaliers might try to get Miller back.Miller and the Sixers play Denver and Iverson next Tuesday and are at the Jazz Jan. 3.
OUT: Andrei Kirilenko, who lost part of a tooth in a game last week, took two elbows to the face on the same play and was called for a foul Tuesday. Kirilenko, who did not return, had a slight concussion and will be re-evaluated today ... Jazz forward Matt Harpring missed Tuesday's game with a stomach virus that had also kept him out of Monday's practice and the Tuesday morning shootaround ... Also inactive for the Jazz on Tuesday was Roger Powell Jr. ... Former Jazz guard Mo Williams, now with Milwaukee, is the Eastern Conference's player of the week for games through Sunday. He averaged 25.7 points and 6.7 assists in the Bucks' 3-0 week ... Elizabeth and Mary Katherine Smart played the national anthem on their harps.