Derek Fisher was never the best player, certainly not the tallest or quickest.
But whether on the court with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, or across the bargaining table from David Stern and Adam Silver, he never feared taking the shot, speaking his mind, or doing whatever else was expected of a leader.
So he has every attribute the Knicks need — except experience as a coach, the job they hired him to do.
"But I am experienced," Fisher said Tuesday. "Basketball is a game that I am experienced in playing, understanding, leading in, guiding in, helping another group of people achieve the greatest gift in the world as a professional athlete, and that's being a champion. That I have experience in, and that's the experience that I plan on sharing with these players, sharing with this organization."
That's what made Phil Jackson turn to one of his most trustworthy former players for his first coaching hire. Just days after finishing his 18th season, Fisher, 39, was tabbed to replace Mike Woodson, whom Jackson fired in his first major move as team president.
Fisher won five championships playing for Jackson with the Lakers and was known for his knack for hitting clutch shots during an NBA-record 259 playoff games. But some of his most important work came in the locker room.
"He made some incredible shots in the playoffs, always stepped into the vacuum of leadership, but more than anything else it was the ability of Derek to speak the truth from what the sense of the group was," Jackson said at the Knicks' training center in Greenburgh, New York.
Terms were not released, but AP reported it was worth $25 million over five years.
Shelly Sterling in court: Shelly Sterling will go to probate court today to seek an emergency order for a hearing so a judge can confirm her authority to sell the Clippers, AP reported.
Shelly Sterling brokered what would be a record-breaking $2 billion deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to sell the team after her husband and co-owner Donald Sterling made racist comments to a girlfriend that were recorded and publicized. The NBA moved swiftly to oust him as an owner.
But Donald Sterling has vowed not to sell and is suing the NBA for $1 billion.
Cavaliers: They interviewed Mark Price, a four-time All-Star point guard during his nine seasons playing with Cleveland, for their vacant coaching job. Price, 50, spent last season as an assistant in Charlotte.