Michael Cooper

Michael Cooper
Coach Michael Cooper
WNBA career 2000–2009
Regular season 187–97 (.658)
Postseason 25–13 (.658)
Championships 2 (2001, 2002)
Profile WNBA Info Page
WNBA Head Coach of
Los Angeles Sparks (2000–2004, 2007–2009)
WNBA Assistant Coach of
Los Angeles Sparks (1999)
Awards and Honors
WNBA Coach of the Year (2000)
Michael Cooper
No. 21
Personal information
Date of birth April 15, 1956 (1956-04-15) (age 55)
Place of birth Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
High school Pasadena (California)
Listed height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight 170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
College New Mexico
NBA Draft 1978 / Round: 3 / Pick: 60th overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers
Pro career 1978–1991
Career history
As player:
19781990 Los Angeles Lakers
1990–1991 Virtus Roma (Italy)
As coach:
2004–2005 Denver Nuggets
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points 7,729
Assists 3,666
Steals 1,033
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Michael Jerome Cooper (born April 15, 1956) is an American basketball coach and retired professional player. He is the head coach of the USC Women of Troy college basketball team.[1] He is a former player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) who spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers,[2] and has coached in both the NBA and WNBA.[3] Michael Cooper is the only person to win a championship, as either a coach or a player, in the NBA, WNBA, and the NBA Development League.[citation needed]


Early career

Born in Los Angeles, California, he attended Pasadena City College before transferring to the University of New Mexico. He played for the New Mexico Lobos for two seasons, 1976–78,[4] and was named first team All-Western Athletic Conference. In his senior season the Lobos won the WAC title, with Cooper averaging 16.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

Professional career

Drafted out of New Mexico by the Lakers in the third round of the 1978 NBA Draft (60th overall),[5] "Coop" became an integral part of the "Showtime" Lakers teams of the 1980s with his defensive skills. In a twelve-year career, he was named to eight NBA All Defensive Teams, including five First Teams. He won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1987. He, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, was a member of five Lakers championship teams in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988.[6]

At 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m), 174 lb (77 kg), the rail-thin Cooper known for his knee-high socks, played shooting guard, small forward, and point guard, although his defensive assignment was usually the other team's best shooter at the 2 or 3 position. Larry Bird has said that Cooper was the best defender he faced.[7] For his career, Cooper averaged 8.9 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks per game. A popular player among Lakers fans, home crowds were known to chant, "Coooooooop" whenever he controlled the ball, and the Lakers sometimes ran an alley-oop play for him that was dubbed the "Coop-a-loop."[8] Leaving the team after the 1989-90 season, he was ranked among the club's all-time top 10 in three-point field goals (428), games played (873), total minutes played (23,635), steals (1033), blocked shots (523), assists (3,666), defensive rebounds (2,028), offensive rebounds (741) and free throw percentage (.833).

He then played for the 1990-91 season in Italy for Pallacanestro Virtus Roma in the Italian Serie A, averaging 15.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.9 steals, 1.8 assists, and 0.3 blocks per game.

Coaching career

Following his playing career, he served as Special Assistant to Lakers' general manager Jerry West for three years before joining the Lakers' coaching staff in March 1994 under Magic Johnson, then with Del Harris from 1994-97. He became an assistant coach of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks in 1999, and helped the team reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, with a record of 20-12.

He was named the Sparks' head coach in November 1999, and the Sparks' record quickly improved, as they finished 28-4 in their 2000 campaign. Cooper was named the WNBA Coach of the Year for his efforts. The Sparks followed with consecutive WNBA Championships in 2001 and 2002, but were denied a third straight WNBA title by losing to the Detroit Shock in 2003.

After the Sacramento Monarchs ended the Sparks' run in the first round of the 2004 WNBA Playoffs, Cooper took a job as an assistant coach under Jeff Bzdelik with the Denver Nuggets. After 24 games, Bzedlik was fired, and Cooper was named the Nuggets' interim head coach.[9] He remained interim head coach until George Karl was brought in to coach the team about a month later and served as a scout for the Nuggets the remainder of the season.

Cooper was the head coach for The Albuquerque Thunderbirds for two years (2006–2007). In 2007, Cooper left the Thunderbirds after coaching them to the National Basketball Association Development League Championship in 2006. Cooper has since returned to coaching in the WNBA as the head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks.

In May 2009, Cooper was named the head coach for the University of Southern California's Women of Troy Basketball Team.[1]

See also

  • List of National Basketball Association career playoff assists leaders
  • List of National Basketball Association career playoff steals leaders


  1. ^ Cooper named women's basketball coach, accessed May 1, 2009
  2. ^ Michael Cooper 1978-1990 nba.com/historical, accessed July 12, 2008
  3. ^ Coach Bio nba.com/coachfile, accessed July 12, 2008
  4. ^ Michael Cooper - Pasadena City pasadena.edu, July 12, 2008
  5. ^ 1978 Draft basketball-reference.com, accessed July 12, 2008
  6. ^ Thunderbirds Head Coach nba.com/dleague accessed July 12, 2008
  7. ^ Larry Bird Chat accessed October 5, 2008
  8. ^ Eded, Gordon (May 7, 1987). "MICHAEL COOPER: A LAKER DEEP THREAT : Three-Pointer Is Becoming an Arc of Triumph". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/62SvoC7U5. 
  9. ^ Nuggets off to 13-15 start espn.com, accessed July 12, 2008

External links

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