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

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