Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 12:59 pm  |  44 responses

Derek Fisher Writes a Letter to All NBA Players

With a tide of pessimism spreading quickly around the NBA, NBPA President Derek Fisher penned a letter to all of the players, giving them an update on the recent meetings and the current state of the lockout. You can read the letter, which was obtained by Sports Illustrated, in its entirety below:

To Each & Every Player,

After the latest round of meetings, I thought it would be best to update you personally as to where the leadership of the National Basketball Players Association stands, where the negotiations stand where we are headed and the reasons why.

Without a doubt, someone will be leaking this. I know it. The moment you read this you will know it. So, I say all with the fullest transparency.

I was elected as your President. By you. For you. I take great pride and am honored to serve the over 400 members of our association. I and our Executive Committee take this job and this role seriously and will not agree to an unfair deal on behalf of you and our players. Period.

I’m not looking out just for the marquee guy, I’m looking out for the guy that dreams of being a professional basketball player and gets a minimum deal. I’m not just trying to protect the guy on a team in a huge market. I’m protecting the player that is in a small market with incredibly loyal fans.

I’ve made it clear, I want to play. You have each made it clear, you want to play. The fans have been unwavering, they want their basketball. The thousand of employees that work in the arenas, the ticket offices, the concession stands, they want a season. We all want to go back to work.

The league and the team owners have locked us out. This was not our choice. Our employers decided to stop allowing us to do our jobs.

My job since July 1st is to find a solution. To find an outcome that protects each of you and your livelihoods and continues to allow us to play the game we love so much and the fans love supporting.

Since before the lockout began, I have spent hours upon hours, days, months, years, working on preparing you, the fans and the media about the possibilities. Now as the lockout has set in, reality of the situation is here.

The most recent meetings in New York were effective. What you have been told by your agents, representatives and the media is probably speculative and inaccurate.

What actually happened in those meetings was discussion, brainstorming and a sharing of options by both sides. The turning point this past Tuesday was not a disagreement between the players and the owners. It was actually a fundamental divide between the owners internally. They could not agree with each other on specific points of the deal and therefore it caused conflict within the league and its owners.

So it is our hope that today, Thursday, at the owners meeting in Dallas that they work out their differences, come up with a revenue sharing plan that will protect their teams and are then ready to come together and sign off on the agreement we as a smaller group deemed reasonable.

Decertification seems to be a hot button issue today in the media. So I’d like to address it. I’ve read yesterday’s stories and find the position of these agents interesting. I have made myself available to each and every agent. But not once have I heard from them. If they are so concerned about the direction of the union, then why have they not contacted me? Each and every one of them mentioned has been in meetings with me. I’ve answered their questions, I’ve been told they support you, their players and our Players Association. So if there is a genuine concern, a suggestion, a question, call me. Email me. Text me. I’m working tirelessly each and every day on behalf of the over 400 players that they represent. Working for nothing but the best interests of THEIR guys. I don’t make a commission, I don’t make a salary for serving as President. I have NO ulterior motives. None.

It is because they have not come to me once that I question their motives.

I work every day on these negotiations. I work so that each player from Blake Griffin to Tyler Hansbrough, Pau Gasol to De’Andre Jordan, Dwight Howard to Jrue Holiday, Taj Gibson to Danny Granger, Steve Nash to Luke Babbit and every single player get a fair and reasonable deal. Not just for this year, not just for next year but for years to come. So that the league that WE the players largely helped build, continues to grow and thrive.

So to address the agents that have decided to say their piece yesterday, I don’t mind. Perhaps they are trying to make news. Perhaps they just want to show you, their clients, they are working hard. But what would be appreciated by the 400+ players would be the support of our agents and constructive ideas, suggestions and solutions that are in our best interests. Not the push for a drastic move that leaves their players without a union, without pensions, without health care. We just aren’t there.

I will remain committed to finding resolution to this because I know how important this is. I ask you to remain united with me and your over 400 allies, friends, brothers and colleagues. We are a powerful group if we remain united and focused on the task at hand.

I urge every single one of you to call me, text me, email me with anything. An idea, a suggestion, a concern, a question. I represent you. I work for you.

So to each player, each fan, each agent, each media member who ends up reading this…I stand behind this message. It comes from me, a 15 year veteran of basketball, the game I dreamt of playing as a kid, the game I love so much. I’m a teammate, I’m a father, I’m a son, I’m a husband, I’m a brother, but right now, the role I must work so hard to honor is the one as PA President. And I ask each of you to stand with me, stand by me and urge the league and the owners to come together and allow the game of basketball to continue to grow and thrive. We’re ready.



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  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • EJ

    I wonder why he put Dwight’s and Jrue Holiday’s names next to each other.

  • http://kb24.com Bigi


  • Showtime

    like i kind of speculated the owners are at a divide on the specific..basically small market to big markets. Small markets want to stop the bleeding with no season, while the big markets want the machine to keep rolling.

  • LA Huey

    Outside of Luke Babbit being mentioned in the same sentence as Dwight, Pau, Nash, I was most interested to hear that the owners seem to be having lots of infighting.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Derek Fisher can’t play defense anymore, but he sure can write a letter

  • chingy

    Surprisingly powerful. I don’t like Fish the player cus he has a tendency to take a cheap shot once in a while. But I respect what he has to do as the PA President. I had no idea he doesn’t get any additional pay for being the President. Seems like he has lots of things to do, while guys like LBJ play flag football or work on their game or in Metta World Peace’s case, be on DWTS!

  • bike

    Dear Derek:

    I am a mid to low-level salary player. Due to recent injuries and the fact I only have two more years on my contract, I fully expect my NBA career to be over in 2-3 years. Please cave in to the owner’s demands as soon as possible. I can’t afford to lose a single season. I really don’t care that much about future NBA players but I think they will be compensated well enough. Sincerely, A Benchwarmer.

  • jayb

    dfish is a legit dude! that said if this is accurate there is some hope! miami, lakers, knicks, boston, chi are on most of the network games anyways. give most of the money to the smaller mkt teams. they have their own networks. that makes the owners happy. if these teams go over..like the yanks they pay a tax to the mid and small teams. that seems more than fair! lets get this done. if we miss the preseason..whatever! i want a full season!!!

  • http://www.rainydaysfilms.com PJ THE CLOSER


  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    No Luis Scola shoutout?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    probably because it’s more Rashard Lewis, Gilbert Arenas, & Eddy Curry’s fault then any player. Infact, LeBron is part of the small fraction of NBA players who is underpaid.

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    ‘Lebron for the lockout’?! Say more PJ, I have no idea where your coming from.

  • Allenp

    Good letter with some actual real news about the owners. Wonder what the divide is about?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Allen it’s supposedly about the revenue sharing and how they will actually structure it. From what I read yesterday

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Where did you read it? I’ve heard rumblings, but I didn’t hear that there was an all out battle. And if the owners still want a hard cap, I wonder how they would phase that in?
    I imagine that it’s going to be over three years or so to account for current contracts. Seems like Dwight Howard should have taken that big extension, CP3 and Dwil too.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I’m trying to find the article or tweet, I don’t remember what it was, I’ll post it as soon as I find it.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop nbk

    The latest Truehoop post briefly touches on it. Briefly (click my name for quick link)

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/31941/digging-deep-to-share-revenue nbk

    Here click my name. It’s from Truehoop on the 13th, but it outlines why the owners are not united.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Yeah I read that. But, I took that as speculation, not as confirmed reports.

  • http://slamonline Brion

    Maybe its because im getting old,or jaded,or my team was relocated to OKC,or the economy,or my adjustable rate negative amorization loan on my home, or my girl’s getting “chunky”, i dont know, but im getting severly burned out on the state of what once was my favorite game and the circumstances surrounding its ultimate demise. I sure hope all the millionares involved can figure out a way to divide their fortune equally so we can all continue to pay $100.00 for nosebleeds while pounding $12.00 cups of beer. Maybe im just having a bad day. Carry on yall.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/31941/digging-deep-to-share-revenue nbk

    Bill Simmons tweeted: I Keep hearing Gilbert/Sarver are hurting NBA lockout progress from owner’s side. — SO that’s kind of what we expected.

  • http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/31941/digging-deep-to-share-revenue nbk

    Unless the dispute is over the use of the Hard Cap altogether? I was under the impression the Owners were united over that (but according to Fisher’s letter and the reports I have read on ESPN/TRUEHOOP/CBSSPORTS, that is the point when the Owners separated themselves from the players and had a 5 hour meeting where nothing was solved)

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Brion, keep ya head up. ooh, and i suggest pre-game pre-funk, allot cheaper :)

  • IndyG

    I can’t stand his dirty antics on the court, but damn that’s a good letter

  • LA Huey

    Hey, guys. Henry Abbot’s had True Hoop article today that had something I found very interesting. “It’s often said that NBA players have guaranteed contracts, like that’s a rule. But it’s not. They have guaranteed contracts because they negotiate them. But teams are free to offer players non-guaranteed contracts, and often do. The good players, however, seldom sign them.)”

  • robb

    El presidente is legit no doubt.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    This is revealing that the Owners need to get their ish together before the players union A.K.A “Team Derek” can agree to anything!?

  • jsmooth


  • MikeC.

    @bike – I was thinking the same thing. There are guys aging their way out of the league and need this season’s salary for their future. I understand planning for the future health of the league, but my sympathies are with the guys whose careers will be over because of the lockout, as well as the regular people that serve concessions, park cars, etc. Arena staff and team office staffers are the ones that will get hurt the most.

  • MikeC.

    I’m also quite pissed about the fact that many of our primetime stars are losing a season at the end of their primes. The Celtics core, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, etc. Some of those guys are running on fumes as primetime players. While Hill seems to be guzzling the fountain of youth, he’s not a primetime player but he’s almost done. This lockout is stealing potential memories. I don’t want to remember KG struggling to rotate on D after a lockout. I want to see this season, which is likely his last at his current standards. Dizzle!

  • Ali Saadat

    Yea this lockout is bad, but if it cuts into the season I’m okay with it because I think we should have a 58 game season, where every team plays the others home and away (playoffs stay the same).

  • Allenp

    Broussard has a good story up about the dispute. His sources are typically trustworthy.

  • Ed Barnes

    I have been a union member all my working life. I feel where you are coming from and know how thankless a job it can be. At one negotiation we had similar disagreements among the employers as well as the members. The solution we can up with was to determine a fair split of the pie. The employers did what they wanted with their part and the union did what they wanted with their part. It worked then…maybe now it will work again.

  • Groves

    Players are asking for to much as far as the salary figures and their unwavering position on certain issues imo

  • http://www.tampax.com Coach

    Check this out and please bear with me: The Owners are like Obama’s liberal democrat Government that wants to tax the rich and put everyone on welfare. The players are like the many, many corporations and companies that make America run. The owners/gov’t have the authority and domain, but they can’t do a single thing without the players/companies producing the product that makes everything run in the first place. In fact, the NBA/America basically exists so that those companies/players can succeed. If the owners/gov’t is doing its job, the players/companies will create more and better product to keep the NBA/America competitive. The owners/gov’t keeps trying to control the players/companies with more and more regulation, but instead of making a more competitive product, it actually sucks the passion out of the game/economy. If the owners/gov’t would get out of the way and let the players/companies dictate their own success the fans/populace would re-gain faith in the NBA/America, because success through competition is soul-restoring while equality through regulation is soul-destroying. So basically Obama sucks.

  • http://www.tampax.com Doyouwantmore

    And that was my post ^^^ I’m not Coach.

  • http://www.tampax.com doyouwantmore

    Replace NBA/America on the fifth line with “owners/gov’t”. Just a typo.

  • http://music.entelleckt.com/ entelleckt

    Does that make David Stern – Obama?

    Would the Republicans be a group of owners who want eliminate revenue sharing at the cost of fewer, not necessarily better, teams meaning less opportunities for players/companies as a whole?

  • http://www.laumol.nl/weblog Laumol

    Beat that for Public Relations Mr. Stern.

  • http://slamonline.com #kiwiinlondon

    does anybody have derek’s phone number, email address of cell phone number?
    id like to call, email or text him.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I don’t know why so many people think America operates better when business and government operate as separate, independent entities with minimal interaction.
    That’s just not reality.
    The vast majority of American business have some sort of direct or indirect connection to government resources. Whether it be tax breaks, or products used by government agencies, or other businesses that work for government agencies. Do people not see how interconnected this entire shebang really is?
    For example, America is a consumer economy. It’s built on people having money they can use to purchase goods and services, which is why the economy has struggled as people save more money and spend less, and as the credit crunch has severely curtailed American’s ability to spend far beyond their means.
    Government jobs and government contracts are huge job producers in a consumer economy. The government not only needs goods and services to do it’s regular business, but the employees it hires then have income that they in turn can spend in the private sector. It all works hand in hand, and attempts to reduce government jobs, while at times well meaning, are often shortsighted because they seem to gloss over the fact that a reduction in well employed citizens means a reduction in consumers, and a reduction in the tax revenue that allows the government to hire private businesses.
    People complain about welfare, which is middling sum and barely provides the basic cost of living for anyone, but history has proven that governments, not businesses or private citizens, or best suited to redistributing wealth so that the poorest and most vulnerable populations do not suffer, OR become extremely predatory against those with incomes. In most countries where government safety nets have been removed, violence is rampant and person property is in jeopardy. In those countries with more generous safety nets, crime is far lower.
    If you allow the gap between the haves and have nots to expand to much, you must rely even more on the police to maintain control, and you must sacrifice even more rights for the illusion of safety. Think about it.

  • http://www.tampax.com doyouwantmore

    That’s pretty naive, holmes. You’re just like Professor Obama who never had to apply for a real job in his life. It works in theory. It works in the classroom. But reality is messy, illogical, and counter-intuitive. Why do you think every coffee-foam artist with a Che Guevara shirt is a liberal, but people generally become more conservative as they get older? It’s because as you grow in wisdom you realize how faulty and unreliable vain reasoning is. I wish you were right, but liberal policies don’t create wealth. They just make everyone equally poor. It’s just as evil to favor a poor man because of how much wealth he has as it is to favor a rich man because of how much wealth he has. If Obama’s policies work, then how come unemployment has risen even further and faster than ever. Liberals will literally sacrifice real people to prove that their ridiculous theories and politics of emotion are true. But they’re not true. Just google “Solyndra”.

  • http://www.tampax.com doyouwantmore

    If welfare barely covers the cost of living, then why are Americans with the highest poverty rates also the most obese? Why are people in ‘poverty’ buying Iphones at a higher rate than middle-class earners? Liberals are generous with other people’s money but it’s conservatives (especially Christians) who donate the most time, money, and passion to humanitarian work and charity. I’m sure Lady Gaga and Sean Penn would like people to think otherwise, but you don’t have to believe the narrative that MSNBC, CNN, MTV, Hollywood, ABC, CBC, PBS, CBS, NPR, and every other network but one would have you believe. How funny it is that 10 or 15 different networks all have one liberal message, but the lone conservative network is constantly portrayed as the evil empire. It seems like once that one network is gone, the message will be controlled by a single party. So who’s the evil empire?