http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketbal ... &cset=true
Lakers' Fisher back in familiar territory
By Steve Springer, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
11:29 AM PDT, October 2, 2007
Putting on the familiar purple and gold uniform and walking into the glare of the Lakers spotlight on media day Monday at the team's El Segundo training facility, Derek Fisher found that some things had not changed in the three years since he last played for the team.
Kobe Bryant is still the center of controversy.
The Lakers center is still being quizzed about his relationship with Bryant.
And the Chick Hearn curse still hangs over the team.
Fisher, who spent two years with the Golden State Warriors and last season with the Utah Jazz, is back for a ninth season with the Lakers after signing with them as a free agent.
In addition to sharing the backcourt with Bryant, Fisher is hoping that the Laker superstar will share his thoughts with him.
"I need to talk to him," Fisher said, "if I'm going to play the role I need to play on this team."
That role, said Fisher, will include lending an ear if Bryant needs to talk through his frustrations during the season.
Those frustrations bubbled over during the offseason when Bryant ripped management for its failure to improve the team, asked to be traded, backed off and advocated the trading of center Andrew Bynum.
Bryant did his best Monday to defuse the situation, expressing his resolve to move forward with the teammates he has. He made a point of hugging Bynum.
"No matter what is going on peripherally, [Bryant's] ability to stay focused when he steps on the court is unmatched," said Fisher, who, in his last Lakers tour of duty, was witness to the Bryant-Shaquille O'Neal feud and the sexual assault case against Bryant.
There are some changes this time around, said Fisher.
"Who is this team? What are we capable of?" he said. "That's different from before when everybody knew who we were."
Fisher hopes there is one other difference. After winning their third straight NBA title in 2002, the year announcer Hearn died, the Lakers' fortunes soon declined. Fisher used to say there might be a connection, one he referred to as the Chick curse.
"Hopefully, that has finally lifted," Fisher said. "I think Chick is looking down on us, rooting us on to a higher level."