Every so often, we see athletes in professional sports retire, only to come back for another stint later on. Michael Jordan did it twice and Brett Favre did so about 92 times, just to name a few.
The NBA lost two of the greatest players of all-time this past season with Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan deciding to retire, with the chances of either making a return seeming very slim.
Bryant and Duncan had an endless amount of battles over the course of their playing careers as members of the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, respectively, and Derek Fisher was generally in the middle of all of them in purple and gold. Fisher of course retired from his playing days back in 2014 before becoming the head coach of the New York Knicks just weeks later.
He lasted less than two seasons as a head coach before being fired and becoming an analyst for Turner Sports. But now, Fisher may not be content with just watching the game.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, the soon-to-be 42-year-old Fisher is pondering a comeback to the NBA … as a player.
Sources told ESPN on Wednesday that Fisher has indeed been “exploring options and expressing interest in playing again.”
It is unclear what those options are, but a source said Fisher’s looking into opportunities to play in the NBA or in the Chinese professional league.
For many years, Fisher was widely known as being one of the most physically fit players in the league, and since he retired two years ago, it looks like he has stayed in pretty good shape. But does he have anything left in the tank?
Fisher posted two workout videos on his Instagram account recently, with this Tuesday video including a hashtag of “Imnotdoneyet.”
Although Fisher can still knock down shots and handle the basketball, we saw what he was in his final stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Add two more years to his age, and the options available to him in the NBA are probably bare, for good reason.
Playing in China might be a more realistic option for the former Lakers point guard. If he truly wants to come back to basketball as a player, his continued decline in overall athletic ability might make the overseas route his only professional option.
The NBA is a guard-driven league now, with the vast majority of its premier talent out on the perimeter. As much as Lakers fans grew to love Derek Fisher over his playing career that saw him win five championships with the team, I don’t think anyone wants to see him chasing around guys like Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook anymore.