The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the list of eligible candidates for the 2021 class, and Los Angeles Lakers wing Michael Cooper is among the first-time nominees.
Cooper spent the entirety of his 12-year NBA career with the Lakers, becoming a mainstay of the ‘Showtime’ era and one of the league’s better role players during that time. Cooper won five championships with the Lakers and is known as one of the best perimeter defenders of all-time.
Cooper was named to the All-Defensive First Team five times and to the Second Team another three selections. In 1987, Cooper received his biggest individual accolade being named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, remaining one of the few perimeter players to win the award.
Not just content with playing, Cooper also made a mark as a coach, particularly in the WNBA. Cooper was head coach of the L.A. Sparks from 2000-04 and again from 2007-09, winning back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002.
— Michael Cooper (@ShowtimeCooper) December 22, 2020
Cooper won an NBA G League (then D-League) championship as head coach of the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in 2006 and also served as the head coach of the USC women’s basketball team as well as the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.
Cooper additionally spent time as an assistant for the Lakers and Denver Nuggets, briefly serving as their interim coach during the 2004-05 season.
In addition to Cooper, other first-time Hall of Fame nominees include Doug Collins, Howard Garfinkel, Lou Henson, Yolanda Griffith, Val Ackerman, Lauren Jackson and Paul Pierce. Returning nominees include Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Richard Hamilton, Chris Webber, Bob Huggins, Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Ben Wallace, and Jay Wright.
Shaquille O’Neal wants Anthony Davis, LeBron James to build own Lakers legacy
Among Lakers legends there are very few that sit higher than Shaquille O’Neal, who formed arguably the greatest duo in NBA history with Kobe Bryant. Now that LeBron James and Anthony Davis have brought the franchise’s 17th championship, comparisons have already begun.
But O’Neal shot those down, calling for James and Davis to forge their own path and legacy with the Lakers as opposed to being the next Shaq and Kobe or Magic and Kareem.
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