The National Basketball Coaches Association announced Del Harris, who has spent 61 seasons as a coach, including 32 in the NBA and with five as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, was the recipient of the 2020 Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It is truly a special honor to be recognized by fellow Coaches and to be added to the list of outstanding Coaches and men who have had the privilege of being recognized along with the great Chuck Daly,” Harris said in a statement.
“Being honored by my peers is particularly meaningful to me because I coached in an era that many regard to be one with the highest level of the art. Most are in the Hall of Fame and/or have been honored similarly by the Coaches that coached in the 1970s and 1980s with a smaller number of teams.”
NBCA President Rick Carlisle added, “Del Harris’ impact on basketball extends beyond the NBA and transcends national borders. His success in both the NBA and international competition reflects a lifetime commitment to the global game.
“Del has been a trusted friend to the game of basketball for over 6 decades. Our sincerest congratulations to Del on this well-deserved and prestigious recognition.”
Harris spent 14 seasons as a head coach in the NBA, but experienced his best success with the Lakers, whom he led from 1995-1999. He was named Coach of the Year in 1995 after leading the team to 48 wins and a second-round playoff appearance.
The Lakers would then add Shaquille O’Neal in free agency and draft a young high schooler by the name of Kobe Bryant. Over the next three seasons with Harris at the helm, the Lakers won 53, 56 and 61 games, and made one trip to the Western Conference Finals.
Harris got his start at the junior high and high school level before moving to the collegiate ranks at Earlham College. He also coached in the Superior League of Puerto Rico and the European Professional Basketball League before getting his first professional job as an assistant with the Utah Stars of the ABA.
In addition to his time as the head coach of the Lakers, Harris was also head coach of the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks. He additionally spent time as an assistant for the Rockets, Bucks, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets, and even was the head coach of the Texas Legends of the now-G League.
Harris became the first foreigner to serve as head coach of the Chinese National Basketball team in the 2004 Olympics.
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