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Former Laker Rick Fox -- he's not only a ballroom dancer anymore
October 7, 2010 | 12:46 pm

Rick_240 Rick Fox, former Laker star and current favorite on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," will be joining NBA TV, in conjunction with TNT, throughout the season as a guest analyst.

Fox lately has been earning praise from the judges on "Dancing," despite 5-foot-4 partner Cheryl Burke's need for custom-designed 4-inch heels so she can -- kind of -- reach the shoulders of the 6-foot-7 Fox (tallest contestant ever on this season's highest-rated weekly television show).

His first appearance on NBA TV will be Sunday, when he will appear with Brent Barry at 5:30 p.m. PDT. We assume Barry will not have to procure custom-designed clothing items as there is no need for Barry to reach Fox's shoulders. Fox will not be working for the Fox local Lakers broadcasts this year as he has in the past.

Fox calls his dancing experience so far "intense." He said: "We've been going at this for about six weeks, and I can recall maybe one or two days where I've had a sense of relaxation, not only physically but mentally. The stress has been there since Day 1."

He also said he had never considered himself a good dancer. "At parties, I'd be the 6-7 guy who wanted to be a fly on the wall. I've had to conquer that fear and force myself to perform."

Fox said that since he's working for the national network now and not the Laker network, he has to learn to change his focus. "It's the NBA as a whole now," Fox said. "This takes me out of my homer status."

And Fox has a casting suggestion for "Dancing With the Stars": Charles Barkley.

"I think Charles would do great on the show," Fox said. "I think he could dance. And it's a great way to lose weight. We've heard Charles is down over 40 pounds. He could finish off by dancing."

So, Charles, what do you think? Samba time?