|Fisher returns to Utah a year after dramatic entrance|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 09 May 2008 15:36|
They booed him.
Fisher started for the Lakers on in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals Friday night, exactly one year after his cross-country flight and dramatic entrance in the third quarter of Utah's overtime win over Golden State. He was the last Laker introduced and the steady chorus of boos didn't let up.
It was his third game in Utah since asking to be released from his contract last summer to move to a city where his daughter, Tatum, could receive a specific treatment for a cancerous tumor in her eye. The first was in November when Jazz fans surprised him by welcoming him back with boos.
He didn't expect a warm welcome, but he didn't expect what he got, either.
``It was more confusing than anything else,'' Fisher remembered after the Lakers' shootaround Friday.
Jazz fans dislike the Lakers more than any other team and felt slighted when Fisher ended up with his former team after being released from his contract in Utah.
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor said had Fisher ended up with any other team, he probably would have received a standing ovation for his one season in Utah and his performance in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Warriors.
Fisher had been in New York, where his baby daughter was undergoing treatment for a cancerous tumor, and still tried to make it back in time for the game on May 9, 2007. The Jazz started the game not knowing whether the veteran guard would be back in time.
Fisher missed the first half and much of the third quarter before arriving. He changed into his uniform, ran straight from the locker room to the scorers' table, then onto the court. He scored five points in Utah's 127-117 win and gave his teammates a huge psychological lift by putting aside his emotions for the game and flying from New York to do it.
``It will always be one of the most memorable days of my life and most memorable nights of my professional career,'' Fisher said. ``One year later, Tatum is doing great and I feel very blessed and very fortunate to be standing here.''
Fisher received a standing ovation when he arrived that night a year ago, which made the reaction from Utah fans all the more surprising when he came back as a Laker. He was back again in March and there were still boos, but also cheers from some Utah fans who didn't like the way he was treated the first time.
Neither did O'Connor.
``The guy came to us and said his daughter had cancer and he had to leave. And he was willing to walk away from a contract he knew he couldn't make up,'' O'Connor said.