Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
- 5x NBA Champion with the LA Lakers (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988)
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1987)
- 5x NBA All-Defensive First Team (1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988)
- J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1986)
- WNBA Coach of the Year (2000)
- Currently the head coach of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream
Michael Cooper is a retired NBA guard and forward and current basketball coach. Michael spent his 12-year NBA career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and has coached in both the NBA and WNBA. He is the only person to win a championship, as either a coach or a player, in the NBA, WNBA, and the NBA Development League. Michael, or “Coop,” was drafted by the Lakers in 1978 and became an integral part of the “Showtime” Lakers teams of the 1980's. He was named to eight NBA All Defensive Teams, won NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and won five NBA Championships alongside fellow Lakers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. Known for his knee-high socks and defensive prowess, Michael averaged 8.9 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.6 blocks per game. By the time he retired, Michael ranked among the Lakers’ all-time top 10 in several categories, including three-point field goals, games played, offensive and defensive rebounds and free throw percentage.
Born in Los Angeles, Michael attended Pasadena City College before transferring to the University of New Mexico. He was named First Team All-Western Athletic Conference and helped the Lobos win the WAC title, averaging 16.3 points per game. Michael was inducted into the Lobo Hall of Honor in 1992. After he retired in 1990, Michael served as a special assistant to Jerry West, the Lakers general manager, for three years before joining the Lakers coaching staff for four seasons from 1994 to 1997. Michael then spent eight seasons (2000-2004 and 2007-2009) as the head coach of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. He won five Western Conference titles and guided the Sparks into the WNBA playoffs seven times, winning the WNBA Championship in 2001 and 2002. He was named WNBA Coach of the Year in his debut season, 2000. In 2005, Michael became an assistant with the Denver Nuggets, even serving as interim head coach. Then in 2006, Michael became the head coach of the NBA Development League’s Albuquerque Thunderbirds and led them on to win the NBA D-League Championship later that year. Currently, Michael is in his fourth season as head coach of the University of Southern California Women of Troy basketball team.
An incredibly talented athlete and coach, Michael is also active in the community. He was presented with the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1986 by the Pro Basketball Writer’s Association because of his outstanding service and dedication to the community. Michael was also presented with the Commitment to Excellence Award during the 2007 Los Angeles Sports Fans Choice Awards.