01.31.06

Don Nelson’s Acting Debut

Posted in Basketball, The World Of Entertainment at 1:33 pm by

Though what may well be a hoops version of “First And Ten” has already been noted in this space, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram’s Randy Galloway has further gory details. Though not, however, an explanation for why Ken Howard doesn’t get jobs like this.

Don Nelson spent three days in Tinseltown last week, shooting the pilot for a new TV show.

George Clooney, he ain’t. But George Clooney, he now knows. Clooney is the show’s producer.

Nellie gets to play himself.

“I’ve been acting like a coach forever. I guess Hollywood must have noticed,” he joked.

So as the Mavericks tear though the NBA, Hollywood asked Nelson to serve as the coach of a mythical NBA expansion team called the San Diego Stingrays.

“I guess you’d call it a reality comedy show,” said Nelson. “We’ve got no lines to memorize, they just give us basketball situations that come up, and tell us to say what comes natural.”

Nellie claimed he showed up on the set for the first time “scared to death.”

But after three days of shooting film, he added, “I never had so much fun in my life. I loved it. They called me ‘One-Take Nelson.’ I even got a standing ‘O’ from the crew after the last shoot.”

Speaking of NBA characters, Vlade Divac plays the aging “superstar” signed by the expansion team; Norm Nixon is Nelson’s general manager; and his assistant coach is Marques Johnson, a former player for Nelson.

“There are no professional actors,” said Nelson. “Everybody, including the players, has some experience in the NBA.”

Del Harris, Nelson’s longtime assistant coach with the Mavs, and also the No. 1 assistant for Avery, got a big laugh out of Nellie gone Hollywood.

“When he retired, all the media wondered how long it would take for Nellie to return to coaching,” he said. “At least by Hollywood standards, it was less than a year.”

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