Salt Lake Tribune: When Kobe Bryant heard the good news Wednesday, that Derek Fisher’s 10 1/2-month-old daughter had undergone successful surgery and the family was flying back to Utah, the superstar guard sent a text message to his friend from all those Lakers championship teams.
There was a game to be played and, the last Bryant heard, Fisher was going to try to make it. After eight seasons as teammates, coming into the NBA in the same draft class, and countless battles in practice, Bryant offered Fisher the advice he would have given himself.
“I just said, ‘Go at them,”‘ Bryant said in a phone interview with The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday. “Just go out there and go at them and do what you do best.’ I’m sure he got that and understood exactly where I was coming from because we’re cut from the same cloth.”
The news that Fisher’s baby daughter, Tatum, was diagnosed with a form of eye cancer hit Bryant especially hard. Not only were he and Fisher close friends on the Lakers but Bryant is the parent of two daughters, the youngest born just months before Fisher’s twins.
“It made us all stop, just completely stop,” Bryant said. “It was very difficult at first. But he gave us the good news the following day about the surgery being successful and that he was going to be able to be there (for the game).”
What Bryant never doubted was that Fisher was going to find a way to make an impact if he was able to play. He knew the depth of Fisher’s religious faith and believed it would carry him through the game, even if he didn’t have the physical strength to play.