Monday night was episode four of the 25th season of ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars, and unfortunately, it was former Los Angeles Lakers great Derek Fisher and his partner Sharna Burgess who were eliminated.
Fisher, who played 13 seasons for the purple and gold, received a solid score of 23 out of 30 but it was not good enough to survive another week. The results on the show are tallied based on a combination of judges’ scores and votes from the public.
Fisher performed a jazz dance to Curtis Mayfield’s classic 1970 soul song “Move on Up.” What was especially moving about this episode was that it was “Most Memorable Year” night where contestants were asked to recall a year in their life that was especially pivotal.
Fisher chose the year 2007, which was when his then-infant daughter was diagnosed with cancer in one of her eyes. Lakers fans will remember that Fisher, who was playing for the Utah Jazz at the time, walked away from a large guaranteed contract with the Jazz to return to Los Angeles where his daughter was undergoing the treatments that fortunately were able to save her life.
This paved the way for three more NBA Finals performances for the Lakers and two more championships.
With his daughter in attendance to watch him dance, Fisher spoke eloquently about his struggles during that period and how helpless he felt as his daughter endured the lengthy, painful procedures that would eventually save her life. By the end, there was not a dry eye in the audience.
Afterwards, Fisher was interviewed and expressed his appreciation for the producers and thanked everyone for a great experience.
When asked who should be the next NBA player to compete on the hit show, he hesitated a moment before remarking that his former teammate Kobe Bryant is always up for a good challenge.
Anyone waiting for Bryant to appear as a contestant on a reality television show may be in for a long wait. As for Fisher, it will be interesting to see what the next chapter in his post-NBA career will be.