Former Lakers’ Star Michael Cooper – New CCHS Boys’ Basketball Head Coach


Fiona Tieche, Staff Writer

Michael Cooper, the former Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard, was recently hired as the new coach for the Culver City High School boys’ basketball team. Cooper has been involved in coaching high school basketball for the past several years and has now joined the Culver City High School varsity team for the first, out of hopefully many, years.

Cooper learned about the open position due to his previous involvement with the Culver City district and his son’s attendance at the middle school.

Cooper assisted DJ Vincent, the middle-school head coach, for a number of years, “When the job came open, DJ gave me a call and asked if I was interested,” explains Cooper.

With his incredible defensive skills, Cooper was a part of the Lakers’ Showtime teams in the 1980s and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1987. He worked alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson throughout his professional career and won five NBA championships with the Lakers.

Following his playing career, he moved on to coach the NBA’s Lakers alongside Magic Johnson and then the WNBA’s Sparks, helping them reach the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

He continued his coaching career on various teams and began coaching high school in 2019. Cooper decided to take the head coach position at CCHS to give back to young athletes with his knowledge from playing professionally to prepare them for their futures in basketball.

“AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] basketball is so prevalent in our society now and they are not teaching kids the fundamentals. If I can come back and teach them the fundamentals to get them prepared, they’ll know how to play this game when they advance to higher levels,” says Cooper.

His opinion of the team has been all positive. He sees a bright future for the players in both the league and for their individual prospects through college and beyond.

“I’m always impressed with Culver City,” Cooper said. “Hopefully, some of my knowledge will rub off on them and help them have the opportunity, if that is their wish or blessing, to play professionally or overseas.”

“This team is already champions – they won league last year, so my job is just to come here and enhance that,” Cooper says.

Cooper doesn’t plan on leaving soon. “I will be here as long as they want me. [Athletic Director] Mr. Salter and [Head Principal] Dr. Lisa Cooper said that we’ll just take it a year at a time to see how it goes, but I see a long-term future here,” Cooper says.

“Culver City is very happy to have him,” according to Tom Salter, and is excited to see how the team improves with his help.


“We all play this game because we love it,” Cooper says, as he looks forward to equipping his students with the information he gained during his professional career with the Lakers, and pushing them towards college, or perhaps the NBA.