There are little things in life that catch your attention. The little things that make you want to notice them every day, even if they are not significant in a big manner. But, these are the exact things that may hog your attention on some later day, make you see more of it, make you associate yourself with the surroundings, fall in love.
I love cricket and basketball. And there are many things and players to love. There are also some small tid-bits that you like to watch over and over, and you may never get tired of. It amuses you. You don't care what's happening around them, or you, whilst you watch it. I'll give you two examples of such things, that puts a curve to my smile, subconsciously tilts my face and fixes my eye on the beautiful little, otherwise insignificant, string of moments.
1. I used to watch nearly every cricket match possible. Many people do that. We Indians are that crazy about it. Each of us have our favourite moment on screen. We like to see somebody's in-swinger, somebody's helicopter shot, someone's cover-drive... I have my own list of all that. But, that's appreciating the art. The single-most favourite one and a half second of cricket ritual is that of Morne Morkel completing a circle on top of his run-up before chugging his body to bowl. I have no idea why he does it, but he does it, and it is lovely. I call it "Morne's Halo". Makes me marvel. That, and him being tall and bowling snorters at batsmen, is why I like him bowl, why I like watching him bowl.
2. I like....love the Lakers. I had started watching NBA only in the Shaq/Kobe era, and most of the spot-light would be on them, and why not? But there was this little fellow there... Derek Fisher, same draft class as Kobe. He had this thing...this special thing, of making a Free Throw look beautiful. The arc that Derek Fisher conjures, gives you so much time to say "wow" very slowly. They're silly, little things you see... But that's where I started to love the Bandana wearing, never dunking, clutch role player the Lakers had - Derek Fisher.
It was 12.30 am last night, this morning, if you will...
The trade deadlines had just closed. Lakers had dealt Jason Kapono, and Luke Walton and a future pick for Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga from the Cavs. It was kind of twitchy, reacting to Luke's trade. He was always injured, but got a sizable salary. It was amazing what Mitch Kupchak had pulled off. But, Luke Walton is family. What he had been to the Lakers is beyond numbers. He was very unfortunate with his body, but was a constant motivation and has an excellent basketball IQ. That helped Lakers' 2nd coming of the decade. He'll be a coach soon.
Yeah, 12.30 am.
It was said that franchises will be given a few more minutes to complete discussing any trade on the table, but not allowing new trade options to be discussed. Most, or all, Lakers fan thought this was the time for Lakers to make a final push for Michael Beasley, if at all they are wanting him.
But we were in for a shock. Derek Fisher (+ 1st round pick) had been traded to the Rockets for Jordan Hill.
It was an hour of utter disbelief. The news made me jump up, and put me to tears immediately. Laker fans all over the world following this were in tears.
Sure, Mitch wanted to improve the team, but we never, ever, expected this.
Why do we love Fisher? Fisher is the leader of the team, the co-captain of Lakers, the only player Kobe Bryant willingly listens to, the father figure for young players on the roster, the commander-in-chief for the warriors when in need. He is just beyond an average point guard with questionable form. You can throw the stat sheet down your drain when you put him in clutch situations.
He gave us so many memories, scattered over a decade of Purple and Gold -ness. He rarely ever missed a free-throw! His three-pointers stood granted for ages, he has the 2nd most number of threes made in NBA finals, and a huge number of playoff games played... His experience is wealth in gold...purple and gold.
I was enjoying my summer break at my grandparents' place, and was watching THAT playoff game vs Spurs. Tim Duncan hit an impossible shot over Shaq, and the San Antonio crowd was already berserk. But then, 0.4 happened. And I did not disagree with my grandpa for calling me a mad monkey, seeing me jump up and down like one.
0.4s is what Fisher is. Clutch.
In both the recent seasons that Lakers won - Derek had some superb, series changing performances. In the season against the Magic, Derek Fisher hit the game tying 3 to take the game to over-time, and then killed the Magic with another 3 in over-time. When Lakers played the Celtics (yeah, this is the part where sport becomes a bloodbath battle), it was Derek Fisher who played like a rabid bull-dog to buy back the home court advantage at Boston. His made layup after being hammered to the floor will forever be fresh.
He passed up on sharing locker room space with Wade, LeBron and Bosh, to stay with the Lakers. It's hard for any Laker fan to see him leave. Mitch is likely to bring him back in future, maybe in a sign-and-retire way.
Derek Fisher is the voice for Lakers. It's a joy to see him come out first game of the season, and talk to the fans, especially after we won championships. Ah, Fish...
Derek Fisher, we have loved you, and we will love you, all the way. We loved the way you took the charges fearing no man who came at you, we love your treys that would swish from deep, I love your free-throws that made me love you in the first place, we love the professionalism that you bring to the table.
The whole bunch of players in the league must love you for representing them, standing up for them, working day and night and deep into the night to bring the season back.
Please come back if and when the opportunity comes, and make me weep again... weep in joy. I will be waiting for that day.
You shall always be our beloved Fish that you now are. Keep wearing that smile!