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Friday, February 25, 2011
Derek Fisher is sportsman of year

By Ramona Shelburne

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Lakers guard Derek Fisher was named the sportsman of the year and UCLA softball player Megan Langenfeld was honored as the sportswoman of the year at the sixth annual L.A. Sports Awards on Thursday night at the Beverly Hilton.

Fisher accepted his individual award and the award for the top sports moment of the year, which went to the Lakers for winning their 16th NBA title last June.

Derek Fisher
Derek Fisher was named sportsman of the year at the L.A. Sports Awards dinner Thursday.

"It's always quite humbling to receive awards for not just things you do on the court as an athlete, but recognition for things you attempt to do off the court, in the community," Fisher said.

"The city of Los Angeles has been not just a second home, but a home to me since I was drafted here in 1996, and I take very, very seriously my commitment to this city."

The awards are presented annually by the Los Angeles Sports Council. This year's event featured special tributes to legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, who died at age 99 in June.

Wooden's daughter Nan Muehlhausen accepted the award for her late father, saying "If my dad were here, he would say, 'I didn't deserve this. My boys, who were my players, earned this for me.'"

Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena was named the coach of the year for leading his team to the best regular-season record in MLS.

"First I'd like to thank [Lakers coach] Phil Jackson for stepping out this year for this award," Arena joked. "It's a special honor in a year that we recognize John Wooden."

AEG president and CEO Tim Leiweke was honored as the executive of the year for his efforts to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles, as well as the success of two AEG-owned teams, the Kings and Galaxy.

"It's a real honor, and I'm humbled," Leiweke said. "By the way, I feel like I should've said if I don't get the NFL team here, then we'll give it back. It certainly now gives me a bit more inspiration to get that deal done."

The council also selected the top 10 Los Angeles sports moments of 2010. The Lakers' title was selected as the top moment of the year, followed by the remembrance of Wooden's life and legacy with a public ceremony at UCLA, Lakers owner Jerry Buss' induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Landon Donovan's dramatic goal against Algeria in the World Cup, Zenyatta's winning streak, Evan Lysacek's gold medal in the Winter Olympics, the Kings' return to the playoffs, UCLA softball's 11th NCAA title, the role of the Clippers' Eric Gordon and Lakers' Lamar Odom in the United States' gold-medal run at the FIBA world championships, and the Angels' hosting baseball's All-Star Game, in which Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton earned the save.

Gordon, Lysacek, Langenfeld, Fisher, Arena, Leiweke, Muehlhausen and Zenyatta's trainer, John Sheriffs, all accepted their awards in person.

Ramona Shelburne is a reporter and columnist for