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Lakers legend Derek Fisher visits Manila with an assist

Just like what he did back in the day, Derek Fisher issued an assist as he flew miles away from home to visit the Philippines.

In one of his activities in Manila, the former Los Angeles star led a basketball clinic last Wednesday with several aspiring young ballers from the Jr. NBA Philippines and taught the basics of the sport while also providing pointers for local coaches who watched from the stands.

Offering wisdom beyond the clinic, the former 24th overall NBA pick said more than the talent, it is the discipline that will go a long way as far as one's NBA dream is concerned — whether in playing or in coaching.

"I think a discipline for a Filipino player specifically, or any player, often times only goes to practicing your shooting...that part is given," Fisher told members of the media.

"If you want to be a professional player, you have to be good at basketball. But I think there's discipline in showing up on time, there’s discipline in being coachable, there’s discipline in being a good teammate, there’s discipline in wanting others to be successful, sometimes more so than yourself."

"Those are skills we don’t talk about as much."

Fisher wasn't only known for his great playmaking style during his time as an NBA player, but also etched his name in the coaching circle.

The 6-foot-1 backcourt general announced his retirement from playing after the 2013-2014 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Soon after, he was tapped by the New York Knicks as head coach under the guidance of then president Phil Jackson, whom he won five NBA rings with.

Fisher also had a three-year coaching stint with the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA, leading the squad to a semifinal appearance in 2019 and guiding some stars like Candace Parkers and Chelsea Gray.

Knowledgeable in both playing and coaching in the NBA, Fisher said a Filipino baller aspiring to set foot at the league should also have multiple offerings.

"And I think for Filipino players, you are not just surely going to make it to the NBA to become a 20-point scorer, you got to make it to the NBA for a lot of other things that require discipline," he added.

"Those things I listed are really vital."

As for coaching, Fisher, who formed a formidable duo with the late Kobe Byrant in the early 2000s, said building a relationship amongst other coaches will play a huge part in making it to the NBA.

"In terms of coaches, I think that the world is a smaller fraternity so to speak, so finding ways to build a relationship with other coaches that work either in the program or in the college game, those are really important aspects," the 49-year-old Fisher stressed.

"Reaching out to coaches and letting them know that you’re following them or supporting their school or their team, and keeping them up to date on the things that you are working on. You never know when it’s going to reach their desk at the right time."

—JKC, GMA Integrated News