Michael Cooper named keynote speaker

BELLFLOWER – Retired Lakers great Michael Cooper will serve as keynote speaker at Bellflower’s BRAVO Awards ceremony on Feb. 5. Now in its 21st year, the event will recognize 15 people “for their outstanding acts of valor, heroism and community service in support of public safety in Bellflower.”

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the Bristol Auditorium inside Bellflower City Hall.

Currently head coach of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, Cooper was a five-time NBA champion as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers. He led the Los Angeles Sparks to two WNBA titles as the team’s head coach, and the Albuquerque Thunderbirds of the NBA’s D-League to a championship in their inaugural season.

Cooper attended Pasadena High School and then Pasadena City College before starring at New Mexico, where he made the All-Western Athletic Conference first team as a senior in 1978. He was selected to the Lobo Hall of Honor in 1992.

Cooper’s association with Los Angeles started when he spent his entire 12-year (1979-90) NBA career with the Lakers, helping the “Showtime” Lakers to five NBA titles (1980-82-85-87-88). Known for his defensive prowess, he was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team eight times – including five first team selections – and was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1987.

Cooper finished his career ranked in the Lakers’ top 10 in games played (873), minutes played (23,635), 3-point field goals (428), steals (1,033), blocked shots (523), assists (3,666), defensive rebounds (2,028) and free throw percentage (.833). He also spent one season playing professionally in Italy in 1991 with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma.

Cooper has enjoyed success as a WNBA coach. He has ranked second in career winning percentage (.663) and sixth in career victories (167) entering the 2014 season. He is the last WNBA head coach to have led his team to back-to-back league titles, winning   the 2001 and 2002 championships in Los Angeles.

Cooper has also been recognized for his community efforts off the court. During the 1985-86 season, Cooper was selected by the Pro Basketball Writers Association as the recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. He was also honored with the Commitment to Excellence Award during the 2007 Los Angeles Sports Fans Choice Awards.

“Cooper is also known for his ‘5 Ds’: Determination, Dedication, Desire, Discipline and Decision-Making; he has used these both on and off the court as the foundation for success,” Bellflower officials said in a press release.

Cooper has exemplified the spirit of the BRAVO Awards through his community efforts and his actions on the court, said Mayor Sonny R. Santa Ines.

“As the keynote speaker, he will bring a positive message to our community and pay tribute to our local heroes,” he added.

A basketball autographed by Cooper will be raffled at the event.

The BRAVO Awards ceremony is funded through sponsorships from area businesses and individuals.

For more info about the BRAVO program visit bellflower.org or contact Kristen Smith at (562) 804-1424 ext. 2267 or ksmith@bellflower.org.



Published: Jan. 8, 2015 - Volume 13 - Issue 39