In 2007, a then member of the Utah Jazz, Derek Fisher, had his share of important decisions to make. The Jazz was in the Western Conference Semi-Finals, and Fisher had already missed the first game to be with his family.
At that time, Tatum, Fisher's 11-month-old daughter, was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, an eye condition that was said to be a cancerous tumor in her left eye. Retinoblastoma is a rare one that often leads to the removal of the infected eye.
A Fatherly Decision
Tatum's condition required three hours of surgery that had to take place in New York on the morning when game 2 of the Jazz series was being played in Utah. Fisher and his wife, Candace, decided to push through with it, and thankfully, the surgery was indeed successful.
Tatum's doctor was said to try pushing the procedure back, but Fisher disagreed. As the doctor remembered, Fisher stated:
"Just do what's best for my child. — How many games I miss in the playoffs is totally irrelevant."
After the surgery, Derek and his family returned to Salt Lake City in Utah, where the game was played, and Fisher had the blessing of his wife to play after a day full of challenges with his family.
The police escorted Fisher from the airport as he arrived in the ongoing Game Two of the Western Conference Semi-Finals matchup between the Utah Jazz and the Golden State Warriors.
As per Bleacher Report, the only thing that made Fisher want to join the game was the fact that Utah's Deron Williams was stuck on the bench with four fouls, and then there's Dee Brown, who was out with an injury as the Jazz clearly needed a ballhandler and a point guard to lead the charge.
Saving the Day
Fisher got a standing ovation from the Jazz crowd as he went straight to the scorer's table, instead of the bench, during the 3:18 mark of the third quarter. Former Warriors Coach Don Nelson related it to "Willis Reed walking in."
Since missing game one, Fisher hadn't shot a basketball in days. That didn't cause any trouble, though, as he forced a crucial turnover on Golden State's Baron Davis in the fourth quarter.
As heroics go, Fisher took one shot, and guess what? He made a go-ahead three-pointer with only a minute left in overtime as that play led the Jazz to a 2-0 lead in the Conference Semi-Finals.
"Sometimes you don't want to offend people who don't believe in the Lord — But I definitely think last night was some form of divine intervention." Fisher stated Post-Game.
In addition to this statement, Fisher also went in front of a national television audience as he heavily described the risks and hazards of Retinoblastoma, gathering parents to have their children's eyes checked.
"We could have lost my little girl if we waited any longer", Fisher stated.
The San Antonio Spurs beat the Jazz in that playoff year and were eventual champions of that season. After that season, Fisher asked Jazz to be released so he could be closer to his daughter and take the best measures to care for her.
Utah agreed, and Fisher reunited with the LA Lakers, and now in Los Angeles, Tatum will definitely be treated with as much care as they were within reach of an absolute fine cancer center.
The aftermath with the Jazz fans was not so great with Fisher. When the Lakers played in Utah, he would get boos, and some would even chant "Cancer" while he was at the line or during stoppages.
That was undoubtedly unprofessional and immoral to his end of the chants, as his daughter went through was very serious.
Now retired and having coached in both the NBA and the WNBA, Fisher vowed to help aid families struggling with their resources in fighting the same battle as his family once did.