Former Lakers star Michael Cooper won numerous championships in L.A. Now he continues to give back to the game as a coach.
Michael Cooper’s successful NBA career with the Lakers
The Lakers selected Cooper in the third round of the 1978 NBA draft. Cooper became an integral piece of the Lakers’ success during the 1980s. In his second NBA season, he was a part of the Lakers team that won the 1980 NBA title. That season he averaged 8.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Cooper provided that much-needed spark off the Lakers bench, and he was one of the team’s top defensive players.
During the 1981-82 season, Cooper had one of his best seasons. He averaged a career-high in points (11.9) and steals (1.6). The Lakers won the NBA title that season, which gave Cooper the second championship of his career. The winning continued for the Lakers, and Cooper continued to play an important part on the team. Cooper won his third NBA title in 1985, and he established himself as one of the top defensive players in the league. In 1987 he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. At 6-foot-5, Cooper had the task of guarding the opponent’s best shooter.
Cooper was an eight-time All-Defensive team selection throughout his career. He went on to win a total of five NBA titles with the Lakers. For his career, he averaged 8.9 points, 4.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. After playing in the NBA, he spent a year overseas playing in Italy. Cooper played for Pallacanestro Virtus Roma and averaged 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 1.8 assists. After his playing career finished, Cooper returned to the Lakers, but not as a player.
Michael Cooper having success on the sidelines as a coach
Cooper served as Special Assistant to Lakers’ general manager Jerry West for three years before he became a part of the Lakers’ coaching staff. He served as an assistant coach for the Lakers from 1994 to 1996. Three years later, he came an assistant coach with the WNBA as he joined the L.A. Sparks. He would become the head coach in 2000. Cooper was named the WNBA Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach.
During his time with the Sparks, he coached the team to back-to-back WNBA titles in 2001 and 2002. After having success in the WNBA, Cooper returned to the NBA and joined the Denver Nuggets as an assistant coach in 2004. Cooper coached on the D League level from 2005 to 2007. He was the head coach of the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (now Canton Charge) and led the team to a D League Championship in 2006.
Michael Cooper making the decision to coach high school basketball
As a coach, Cooper has been around many levels. He’s coached in the NBA, WNBA, and spent some time college basketball. He’s had experience coaching men and women. Cooper knows a thing or two about winning as well. Not only has he won as a player, but he’s won as a coach too. After spending time coaching women’s basketball at USC and the Atlanta Dream, Cooper decided to coach high school.
In 2019 he was named the boys’ varsity coach at Chadwick School in California. Cooper brings a wealth of knowledge to basketball and has been around the game for a long time. His high school players will benefit a lot from having him as their head coach.