Michael Cooper

Last updated
Michael Cooper
Michael Cooper in 2011.jpg
Cooper in 2011 as USC head coach
Personal information
Born (1956-04-15) April 15, 1956 (age 62)
Los Angeles, California
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight170 lb (77 kg)
Career information
High school Pasadena (Pasadena, California)
NBA draft 1978 / Round: 3 / Pick: 60th overall
Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers
Playing career1978–1991
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
Coaching career1994–present
Career history
As player:
19781990 Los Angeles Lakers
1990–1991 Virtus Roma
As coach:
19941997 Los Angeles Lakers (assistant)
1999 Los Angeles Sparks (assistant)
20002004 Los Angeles Sparks
2004 Denver Nuggets (assistant)
2004–2005 Denver Nuggets (interim)
2005–2007 Albuquerque Thunderbirds
20072009 Los Angeles Sparks
2009–2013 USC (women)
20142017 Atlanta Dream
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As coach:

Career statistics
Points 7,729 (8.9 ppg)
Assists 3,666 (4.2 apg)
Steals 1,033 (1.2 spg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Michael Jerome Cooper (born April 15, 1956) is an American basketball coach and former player. He was most recently the head coach of the Atlanta Dream of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). Prior to joining Atlanta, he coached women's college basketball with the USC Trojans. [1] A former player in the National Basketball Association (NBA), Cooper won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers during their Showtime era. He has also coached in the NBA, WNBA, and the NBA Development League. [2] Cooper is the only person to win a championship, as either a coach or a player, in the NBA, WNBA, and the NBA D-League. [3]

Basketball team sport played on a court with baskets on either end

Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another on a rectangular court, compete with the primary objective of shooting a basketball through the defender's hoop while preventing the opposing team from shooting through their own hoop. A field goal is worth two points, unless made from behind the three-point line, when it is worth three. After a foul, timed play stops and the player fouled or designated to shoot a technical foul is given one or more one-point free throws. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, but if regulation play expires with the score tied, an additional period of play (overtime) is mandated.

Atlanta Dream Womens basketball team

The Atlanta Dream are a professional basketball team based in Atlanta, Georgia, playing in the Eastern Conference in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The team was founded before the 2008 WNBA season began. The team is owned by Dream Too LLC, which is composed of two Atlanta businesswomen: Mary Brock, and Kelly Loeffler. Like some other WNBA teams, the Dream is not affiliated with an NBA counterpart, even though the Dream share the market with the Atlanta Hawks.

Womens National Basketball Association United Stated top womens professional basketball league

The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) is a professional basketball league in the United States. It is currently composed of twelve teams. The league was founded on April 24, 1996, as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association (NBA), and league play started in 1997. The regular season is played from May to September with the All Star game being played midway through the season in July and the WNBA Finals at the end of September until the beginning of October.


Early life and college

Cooper was born in Los Angeles. When he was three years old, he cut one of his knees severely, requiring 100 stitches to close. At the time the doctor said that he would never be able to walk. [4]

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, [5] 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.

Pasadena City College community college located in Pasadena, California, USA

Pasadena City College (PCC) is a public community college in Pasadena, California.

University of New Mexico public research university in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

The University of New Mexico is a public research university in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded in 1889, UNM offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degree programs in multiple fields. Its Albuquerque campus encompasses over 600 acres (2.4 km²), and there are branch campuses in Gallup, Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, Taos, and Los Lunas. UNM is categorized as an R1 doctoral university in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

The New Mexico Lobos men's basketball team represents the University of New Mexico, competing in the Mountain West Conference (MWC) in NCAA Division I. UNM established basketball as a varsity sport in 1899 and began competing with regional colleges after establishing an athletics department in 1920.

Professional career

Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the third round of the 1978 NBA draft with the 60th overall pick, [6] Cooper became an integral part of their Showtime 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. [7]

Los Angeles Lakers American professional basketball team

The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Lakers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference in the Pacific Division. The Lakers play their home games at Staples Center, an arena shared with the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association, and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League. The Lakers are one of the most successful teams in the history of the NBA, and have won 16 NBA championships, the second-most behind the Boston Celtics.

The 1978 NBA draft was the 32nd annual draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held on June 9, 1978, before the 1978–79 season. In this draft, 22 NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players and other eligible players, including international players. The first two picks in the draft belonged to the teams that finished last in each conference, with the order determined by a coin flip. The Indiana Pacers won the coin flip and were awarded the first overall pick, while the Kansas City Kings, who obtained the New Jersey Nets' first-round pick in a trade, were awarded the second pick. The Pacers then traded the first pick to the Portland Trail Blazers before the draft. The remaining first-round picks and the subsequent rounds were assigned to teams in reverse order of their win–loss record in the previous season. A player who had finished his four-year college eligibility was eligible for selection. If a player left college early, he would not be eligible for selection until his college class graduated. Before the draft, five college underclassmen were declared eligible for selection under the "hardship" rule. These players had applied and gave evidence of financial hardship to the league, which granted them the right to start earning their living by starting their professional careers earlier. Prior to the start of the season, the Buffalo Braves relocated to San Diego and became the San Diego Clippers. The draft consisted of 10 rounds comprising the selection of 202 players.

Showtime (basketball) era in Los Angeles Lakers history

In basketball, Showtime was an era in Los Angeles Lakers history when the National Basketball Association (NBA) team played an exciting run-and-gun style of basketball. Led by Magic Johnson's passing skills and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's scoring, the team relied on fast breaks and won five NBA championships. Lakers owner Jerry Buss purchased the team in 1979, and he wanted their games to be entertaining. He insisted that the Lakers play an up-tempo style, and the team hired dancers and a live band for their home games at The Forum. The team established a Hollywood-celebrity following.

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. [8] 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." [9] 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).

Larry Bird American basketball player, coach, executive

Larry Joe Bird is an American former professional basketball player, former coach, and former executive who most recently served as President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Nicknamed "The Hick from French Lick," Bird has been described as one of the greatest basketball players and greatest shooters of all time.

Alley-oop (basketball)

An alley-oop in basketball is an offensive play in which one player throws the ball near the basket to a teammate who jumps, catches the ball in mid air and puts it in the hoop before touching the ground.

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.

Pallacanestro Virtus Roma Italian professional basketball team

Pallacanestro Virtus Roma is an Italian professional basketball club based in Rome, Lazio. It plays in the Italian second division, since the 2015–16 season.

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. [10] 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 then 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. [11] He quit in 2013 after USC went 11–20 and finished seventh in the Pac-12 Conference with a 7–11 record. He was 72–57 overall at USC. [12]

In November 2013, Cooper was hired by the Atlanta Dream as head coach. [13]

In July 2014, Cooper was diagnosed with early stage tongue cancer. Cooper will have surgery at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, and a full recovery is expected. His contract was not renewed by Atlanta after an 11–22 season in 2017.

In 2018, Cooper signed on to be the head coach for 3's Company of the Big3 League.

Head coaching record


Regular seasonGGames coachedWGames wonLGames lostW–L %Win–loss %
PlayoffsPGPlayoff gamesPWPlayoff winsPLPlayoff lossesPW–L %Playoff win–loss %
Denver 2004–05 14410.286(interim)


Regular seasonGGames coachedWGames wonLGames lostW–L %Win–loss %
PlayoffsPGPlayoff gamesPWPlayoff winsPLPlayoff lossesPW–L %Playoff win–loss %
Los Angeles 2000 32284.8751st in Western422.500Lost in Conference Finals
Los Angeles 2001 32284.8751st in Western761.857Won WNBA Championship
Los Angeles 2002 32257.7811st in Western6601.000Won WNBA Championship
Los Angeles 2003 342410.7061st in Western954.556Lost WNBA Finals
Los Angeles 2004 20146.700(resigned)
Los Angeles 2007 341024.2946th in Western
Los Angeles 2008 342014.5883rd in Western633.500Lost in Conference Finals
Los Angeles 2009 341816.5293rd in Western633.500Lost in Conference Finals
Atlanta 2014 341915.5591st in Eastern312.333Lost First Round
Atlanta 2015 341519.4415th in Eastern
Atlanta 2016 341717.5004th in Eastern101.000
Atlanta 2017 341222.3535th in Eastern


Regular seasonGGames coachedWGames wonLGames lostW–L %Win–loss %
PlayoffsPGPlayoff gamesPWPlayoff winsPLPlayoff lossesPW–L %Playoff win–loss %
Albuquerque 2005–06482622.5422nd2201.000Won D-League Championship
Albuquerque2006–07502426.4803rd in Western101.000Lost in First Round


USC Trojans (Pacific-10/Pac-12 Conference)(2009–2013)
2009–10 USC 19–1212–63rd
2010–11USC24–1310–8T–4th WNIT Runner-Up
2012–13 USC11–207–117th

NBA career statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage 3P%  3-point field goal percentage FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game APG  Assists per game SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high
Denotes seasons in which Cooper won an NBA championship
*Led the league

Regular season

1978–79 L.A. Lakers 32.3.5000.
1979–80 L.A. Lakers 8224.1.524.250.7762.
1980–81 L.A. Lakers 8132.4.491.211.7854.
1981–82 L.A. Lakers 761428.9.517.118.8133.
1982–83 L.A. Lakers 82326.2.535.238.7853.
1983–84 L.A. Lakers 82929.1.497.314.8383.
1984–85 L.A. Lakers 822026.7.465.285.8653.
1985–86 L.A. Lakers 821527.7.452.387.8653.
1986–87 L.A. Lakers 82227.5.438.385.8513.
1987–88 L.A. Lakers 61829.4.392.320.8583.
1988–89 L.A. Lakers 801324.3.431.381.8712.
1989–90 L.A. Lakers 801023.1.387.318.8832.


1980 L.A. Lakers 1629.0.407.000.8613.
1981 L.A. Lakers 334.0.550.000.7143.
1982 L.A. Lakers 1427.4.565.500.7354.
1983 L.A. Lakers 1530.2.465.143.8293.
1984 L.A. Lakers 2134.4.461.333.8063.
1985 L.A. Lakers 1926.4.563.308.9234.
1986 L.A. Lakers 1430.1.470.463.8183.
1987 L.A. Lakers 1829.0.484.486*.8523.
1988 L.A. Lakers 24*24.5.412.403.7412.
1989 L.A. Lakers 1527.6.416.382.8332.
1990 L.A. Lakers 919.2.286.2502.

See also

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  6. 1978 Draft Archived 2008-06-26 at the Wayback Machine basketball-reference.com, Retrieved July 12, 2008.
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  8. (February 6, 2002)Larry Bird Chat accessed October 5, 2008.
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  11. "Michael Cooper quits at USC". ESPN. Associated Press. March 13, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  12. "Atlanta Dream Name Michael Cooper Head Coach". November 21, 2013. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2014.