The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Los Angeles Lakers legend Michael Cooper as a finalist for the Class of 2022.
This marks the second straight year that Cooper has been named a finalist with the first coming in 2021, although he ultimately did not make it into the Hall of Fame last year. While this is another opportunity for him, the North American Committee only select five new members every year and the competition should again be stiff this year.
Cooper is more than deserving though, so hopefully this is the year he gets in.
Other finalists include Leta Andrews, Swin Cash, Hugh Evans, Manu Ginobili, Tim Hardaway, Bob Huggins, Marques Johnson, George Karl, Marianne Stanley and Lindsay Whalen.
The Lakers originally drafted Cooper with the 60th pick in the third round out of the University of New Mexico. He would go on to spend his entire 12-year NBA career with the Lakers, becoming one of the best defenders in the league.
Cooper was selected to eight All-NBA Defensive Teams, with five of those being in the first team. He also won the 1986-87 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award and was a big part of the Lakers winning five NBA championships in the 1980s.
After finishing his playing career, Cooper transitioned to coaching, where he has spent nearly two decades coaching for the Lakers, Los Angeles Sparks, Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Dream, among others. He is currently the head coach of the Culver City High School team as he continues to give back to the community he has spent so many years in.
The 2022 inductees will be announced during the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans on April 2. The Enshrinement ceremony will then take place in Springfield, Mass. on Sept. 9-10.
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