Leslie Nielsen lookalike on actor’s passing

November, 28, 2010
11/28/10
11:11
PM CT
Color analyst on the Mavericks’ Spanish-language TV broadcasts. Special consultant to the D-League’s Texas Legends.

Harris
Harris
Nielsen
Nielsen
Those are just the two latest entries on an endless resume that finds Del Harris, at 73, working for a fifth decade in the pro game.

And throughout those five decades, Harris has relished the countless comparisons over the years to lookalike actor Leslie Nielsen, who died Sunday at the age of 84 of complications from pneumonia.

When he was hired to coach the Lakers in 1994, Harris joked that he might be able to earn some side money in Hollywood as a body double for Nielsen.

Reached Sunday night by ESPNDallas.com, Harris retold one of his favorite stories about his friend, rewinding to the night he was coaching the Milwaukee Bucks against Chicago with the "Airplane" and "Naked Gun" star in attendance.

"He and I were honorary co-chairmen for the Vince Lombardi Foundation for a couple of years and did public service announcements for the two main fundraisers that were both in Milwaukee," Harris said. "During the basketball season he was in town to cut a promo and came to our game at home with the Bulls and Michael Jordan.

"We won the game and security brought him down to the exit tunnel as the players and coaches were exiting the court. We had already had the lookalike thing going and I had actually signed a name to an autograph a time or two, so I said to him, 'How about going in the locker room and act like you are me and tell them they played a good game or you are proud of them or whatever you have.' He did it and the guys loved it.

"He brought a lot of laughter to the world, but not tonight," Harris said. "Peace, Leslie."

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Rick Carlisle

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.

Galloway & Company: Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Mark Cuban talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: The Standoff

Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Ramona Shelburne

ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Buy or sell

Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Marc Stein

ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Dalembert 6.8
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.2