Derek Fisher's win-win: Giving back to kids and a Los Angeles Lakers victory in the 2010 NBA Finals. / Andrew D. Bernstein, NBAE, via Getty Images;
BRIAN BABINEAU, NBAE, VIA GETTY IMAGES
Here's the game plan for Oct. 23
USA WEEKEND Magazine, the NBA and NBA Players Association are joining forces for Make A Difference Day 2010. This month, read inspirational words in this magazine from some of the NBA's biggest stars on why they choose to help others.
Watch for messages about Make A Difference Day on NBA-TV, NBA.com and NBPA.org. Then, turn your inspiration into real-life action on Make A Difference Day.
To learn more about the NBA's commitment to making a difference off the court, visit NBA.com/nbacares and nbpa.org/community.
Giving back has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
When I was a child in Little Rock, my parents worked hard to teach us the value of sharing what we had with others. Now that I'm a father, I'm trying to instill that trait in my own four kids.
My first real awareness of what that meant beyond my family and friends began when I started playing AAU basketball at age 10. Our team was a non-profit, so to buy supplies and travel to tournaments, we had to raise money. That's when I realized other people were helping me do the things I wanted to do.
Now I'm in a position to be one of those people. I work with the Teaching Garden, which shows kids how to grow fruits and vegetables in inner cities and urban communities. With fellow NBA players Tracy McGrady and Baron Davis, I'm part of the Darfur Dream Team, which connects American schools with students in refugee camps. I try to give back to my peers in the league by serving as president of the National Basketball Players Association. My wife and I also created the Derek & Candace Fisher Family Foundation, which supports issues close to us, including education, health and fitness.
Perhaps the cause closest to my heart is retinoblastoma and the families it affects. Our 4-year-old daughter, Tatum, was diagnosed with this rare form of eye cancer when she was 9 months old. It was difficult, but we found the strength to handle it, and we're doing our best to give Tatum the opportunities to live a happy life. That includes teaching her, and her siblings, the joy that comes with giving someone else something that is yours. Make A Difference Day is an opportunity to teach your kids about sharing. It can be as simple as visiting a nursing home or collecting toys for kids at a homeless shelter. Follow your instincts on how to make your own difference in the world.