EXCLUSIVE: Derek Fisher Teases NBA-Themed 'DWTS' Salsa With Sharna Burgess -- Will Kobe Bryant Be There?
By Desiree Murphy
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Derek Fisher is beyond ready for his ballroom debut!
ET's Katie Krause caught up with the NBA legend on the red carpet at the Entertainment Weekly Pre-Emmy party at Sunset Tower last week, where he opened up about what fans can expect when he and his pro partner, Sharna Burgess, hit the Dancing With the Stars dance floor Monday night.
"There's going to be some basketballs flying around a little bit," Fisher, who's dancing the salsa to Kurtis Blow's "Basketball," teased. "Sharna's amazing! I'm hoping I can keep up, but I'm excited and looking forward to it for sure."
The dancing duo has been rehearsing for a few weeks now, and the 43-year-old athlete said he's most surprised by Burgess' "patience."
"She's a firecracker," he gushed. "She can get after you, but she's really patient. She's really sure of what she wants you to do, but sometimes it's hard to translate what you know in your mind and give it to someone else."
"She's been great to work with, and I think we got a good chance [of winning]," he added. "As long as I listen to her, we have a good chance."
Fisher, a five-time NBA champion, is no stranger to hard work on-and-off the court, but admits that dance training is a whole new game.
"I'm used to the long hours and the practices and those things, but ballroom is so different," he said. "It's really a mental test as well, and we have some great cast members that are great performers in their own right. So, I'm just thankful to be a part of it. It's an amazing show and I'm looking forward to all the experiences."
One of those great entertainers is NFL star Terrell Owens, who's paired with returning pro Cheryl Burke this season. With two big name athletes going head-to-head this season, there's sure to be plenty of entertainment as these guys battle it out in the ballroom!
"See, T.O. and I, we're cool," he said. "T.O. played for the [Dallas] Cowboys for a little bit, I'm a Cowboys fan, so I don't wanna root against T.O. and I don't think he wants to root against me. But, obviously, we're competitive guys, so it'll be all good, fun competition."
Fisher also revealed that his girlfriend, Gloria, will be in the ballroom cheering him on as he makes his dancing debut, along with some of his closest friends that have supported him over the years.
But will his pal and former Lakers teammate, Kobe Bryant, be there?
"I'm not sure, we'll see," he teased. "We've talked about it, but we'll see if he comes out."
"We spent a lot of years working together and accomplished some amazing things together as part of great teams," Fisher added. "So, we'll always have that bond no matter how far apart we are. We'll have that bond forever."
One person that would be extra stoked to meet Bryant? Fisher's new teammate, Burgess!
Over the weekend, the red-headed beauty took to Facebook to answer questions about what to expect from #TeamHoopsAndHeels' first DWTS performance. We asked Fisher, "When it comes to work ethic and personality, who does Sharna remind you of?"
"Kobe, right?" Burgess joked.
"She answered it, I guess!" Fisher said, laughing. "Yes, I would say Kobe because when I'm trying and don't get it right, you might catch an elbow or a push or a kick. This one right here, when she gets fired up, the elbows and the arms fly, the legs kicking out. She works really hard too, like Kobe. She puts in the hours, so there's some Kobe love."
"I would say Russell Westbrook too," he continued. "I played with [him] in Oklahoma CIty, there's a lot of similarities there too. He's, like, really high energy, passionate performer. That's you!"
Dancing With the Stars airs Monday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. After the show, be sure to head to Entertainment Tonight's Facebook page for After the Stars, our live DWTS reaction show, airing at 10:20 p.m. ET/7:20 p.m. PT.