Derek Fisher, reuniting with New York Knicks president Phil Jackson as the NBA team’s new head coach, wants to revive a championship culture in New York, he said Tuesday.
Fisher, who who played 10 of his 18 NBA seasons under coaching legend Jackson, was introduced Tuesday as the Knicks’ new coach.
“I look forward to sharing my experience with my players, and helping to reestablish a championship culture,” Fisher said. “We want to add more banners to this ceiling in here.”
The Knicks will pay a reported $25 million over five years for Fisher, a five-time NBA champion point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers who follows cross-town rival Jason Kidd of the Brooklyn Nets as players to step directly off the court into an NBA head coaching role.
Kidd made the jump from retirement to coaching last June and got the Nets into the playoffs this past season.
“Today marks the next step of this journey for the New York Knicks franchise as we name Derek to lead the team as its head coach,” Jackson said.
“Our relationship began 15 years ago, and over time, it has come clear to me that he and I can form a great partnership once again.”
Fisher won titles with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010 and leads the NBA in career playoff appearances with 259.
“I’m excited to embark on the next phase of my basketball career and look forward to coaching a Knicks team that fans can be proud of,” Fisher said.
“It’s an honor to work alongside Phil Jackson, who is both a legend and friend, as we strive together to reach our ultimate goal of bringing a championship back to New York.
“There’s no question that Phil Jackson’s presence here was a huge part of the decision.”
Fisher is tasked with rebuilding a Knicks squad that reached the second round of the 2013 playoffs but went 37-45 last season.
The Knicks last won the NBA title in 1973.
– A lifetime preparing –
“I learned a great deal from one of the greatest coaches in the game,” Fisher said. “I look forward to sharing my experience with my players and helping to reestablish a championship culture.
“I look forward to this as much as I did anything in life as a professional.
“Preparing myself to be the coach of an NBA team is something I have done since I was six years old.”
The Knicks, who are trying to keep superstar Carmelo Anthony from departing as a free agent, fired coach Mike Woodson shortly after the end of a disappointing 2013-14 season in which they failed to make the playoffs.
Steve Kerr, a former guard under Jackson during his run of six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, spurned the Knicks to sign a deal to coach the Golden State Warriors.
That opened the door for 39-year-old Fisher, who played 10 seasons under Jackson when he coached the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles from 1999-2011, giving Jackson a record 11 crowns as a coach.
Jackson expressed his interest in Fisher while Fisher was still playing in the NBA playoffs for Oklahoma City, leading the league to impose a $25,000 tampering fine on Jackson because Fisher was still a member of the Thunder.
“I was going to have a wardrobe as nice as Derek’s, but the NBA took my money,” Jackson quipped on Tuesday.