“Dancing With the Stars” starts its new season tonight (9/20), with many “DWTS” watchers already calling retired pro athletes Kurt Warner and Rick Fox the longshots of this competition. We asked Fox for his response to that.
“Well, we definitely are long. I’m 6’7”.”
Rimshot for the B-Ball hottie!
Fox — a veteran of six seasons with the Boston Celtics and seven with the L.A. Lakers — points out, “Mine’s not as much a dancer’s body as the others. That definitely plays into the challenge.”
Indeed. His partner, 5’4” Cheryl Burke, has been wearing 4-inch heels for their dances and has already been experiencing an aching neck.
According to Fox, he and superstar quarterback Warner “are a competitive duo in our own right, within the 12 of us competitors on the show. The competitive fire is always going to be burning, you know, we’re representing our respective leagues.” He also notes that he and Warner “have had short bursts of communication, back and forth – things like, ‘It feels like training camp again!…I feel like a rookie…I feel stiff, do you?’ Underneath the competitive side, though, we’re definitely cheering each other on and wishing each other the best,” he adds.
Fox, of course, has been acting for the past five years, and has racked up a sizeable list of credits – including “Oz,” “The Game” and his “Ugly Betty” stint with former wife Vanessa Williams. He jokes that “I just hope my acting skills are good enough to pull off acting like I can dance. I’ll dress and look the dancer even if don’t move like one.” He does say, however, “When I think back to three weeks ago, my first time on the dance floor, I thought, ‘This is going to be the most difficult thing I’ve done with my body.’ Three weeks later – it feels like so much longer – I can see I’ve made progress. I’m getting results. There’s been so much joy to it. I’ve pushed myself to a new level, and with those strides, those positive moments I feel better about my chances.”
Fox tells us he’s been following “DWTS” since his retirement and “seen athletes come and go. The ones with dance backgrounds, the gymnasts and ice skaters, do well, but I’ve yet to see a basketball player handle the ballroom floor as well as the hardcourt. I want to go in there and be the graceful giant.”