Michael Cooper Rumors
Jonathan Feigen: Should be a strong class if voters get it right. Chris Webber and Chris Bosh return as finalists along with Paul Pierce, Tim Hardaway, Marques Johnson, Lauren Jackson, Ben Wallace, Marianne Stanley, Yolanda Griffith, Jay Wright, Michael Cooper and Bill Russell (as coach.)
Black: Michael Cooper was 40 at the time, and he had been retired a few years but he was still a freak. Still wiry. Still in great shape. Cooper at 40 was like a normal person at 25. Larry Bird is on record saying Cooper was the most difficult guy he ever played against in his career, the toughest guy to ever defend him. And there’s Jerry saying to him, “Don’t take it easy on this kid. Make him work as hard as you can.” Michael Cooper, Lakers guard, 1978-1990: I thought I was going to go out there and whip his ass, to tell you the truth. That was my thought. I was like, OK, look, I don’t give a f— how old I am, I’m not gonna let some f—ing guy do anything.
Michael Cooper: And boy was I brought back to reality quick. In a hurry I found out that 40 and 17 don’t go together on the court. At the very beginning, I got right in there and got my hands right up in his face. Guys hate that, especially young guys. He just rose up over my hand like I wasn’t even there. I was planning on him not being that strong and that he’d be intimidated. This is an unfair comparison to this young man because I really like him, this LaMelo Ball kid in Charlotte, 19 years old he comes out to the NBA and you see his little, frail body — Kobe didn’t have that frail body at that age.
Michael Cooper: He did kick me in the nuts one time with his leg, and I was mad about that. But that was it. I was banging on him. I was hitting him with my forearm and he was banging me right back. I hit him hard one time, in the kidney and it was a cheap shot, on purpose. It was just that he was backing me down, backing me down and so I hit him. He felt it, you could tell. I said, “Hey man, sorry about that,” but Kobe was so focused on the workout he was like, “No, no, no problem, Coach, let’s go.” When he’d hit me with an elbow he would say, “Oh, oh, I’m sorry,” and I said, “Quit treating me like an old man.” But no, Kobe didn’t talk. And it was a good thing. Jerry hated that. He always said, why are you fraternizing with the enemy out there? Why are you talking to the enemy when you should be trying to kick their ass? No, Kobe had one thing on his mind: He wanted to play in Los Angeles.