Lakers Moments: Michael Cooper goes to battle
There's no stopping: The Lakers' Michael Cooper shoots over the Clippers' Cedric Maxwell on Jan. 16, 1986.
The rail-thin, 6-foot-5 guard spent his entire 12-year career with the Lakers, playing an important role in helping the team win five NBA titles during the "Showtime" era.
Cooper was named the NBA defensive player of the year in 1987 and was selected to the league's all-defensive team eight times. He was also a favorite among fans, who faithfully echoed "Cooooooop" off the walls of the Forum every time he controlled the ball.
He primarily played off the bench during most of his career, but his playing time increased during his second season as he helped the team win its first title in eight years. The Lakers relied on Cooper as their defensive specialist, often using him to shut down the other team's top player. Larry Bird, who led the Boston Celtics to three NBA Finals appearances against the Lakers in the 1980s, said Cooper was the best defensive player he faced.
Read more about Michael Cooper and where he ranks among the team's career assists in All Things Lakers, the L.A. Times' interactive database of all things purple and gold.
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-- Austin Knoblauch
Photo credit: Los Angeles Times