Culver City Observer -

By Steve Finley
Sports Editor 

Showtime comes to Culver City High School boys' basketball

 

December 16, 2021

George Laase

Culver City's head boys basketball coach Michael Cooper.

Back in the 1980's the Los Angeles Lakers were know as the Showtime Lakers because they were the most entertaining team in basketball history. One of the stars on that team was high flying Michael Cooper. Fast forward to 2021 and that same Michael Cooper is the new Culver City High School boys' basketball coach.

How did one of the greatest players in NBA history end up coaching at Culver City? "My son use to go to Culver City Middle School so I was familiar with Culver City," said Cooper. "A few months ago, I got a call from one of the Culver City coaches and he told me to come and talk to Tom (Salter) the athletic director because they had an opening for the boys' team. I spoke to Tom and things started turning really fast."

Cooper was already involved in high school basketball the last two years because he was the head coach of the boy's team at Chadwick in Palos Verdes. "I heard Culver City had a very good team the last few years but it's all about development for me. Now I want to share some of the God grifted skills that I have and give it back to the young men. It's all about giving back to the game of basketball and teaching young men how to play."

Cooper was known as a defensive specialist playing for Lakers so it's no surprise that his team will stress defense. The great Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics said Cooper was the best defensive player that he had ever played against. "No question it's going to be defense first, second and third," said Cooper. "Defense wins championships, offense will win you some games and that's the way I look at basketball."

Cooper continued to talk about his defensive philosophy. "I look at the game through a defensive prospective. Every kid is not blessed with a great shooting touch of Steph Curry or Kevin Durant but every kid has the ability to play hard on defense. If they do that good things will happen for them."

The Culver City Centaurs are 5-3 and they play one of the best teams in southern California this Friday at 6 p.m. inside the Del Goodyear gym on the Culver City campus. The season is early and Cooper just wants to continue the recent basketball success at Culver City. "We are just looking to have a good solid team and make sure the student athletes get the most out of this because not all of them are going to go on to the pros, but they can use the things that we teach them to help them become better students and athletes."

Cooper knows when ever he walks into a gym with his team the spotlight will be on him. He likes it that way. "I like the spot light on me because that means the team can just go out there and play basketball. They will be coached to the best of my ability and I think after a while they will have a system to flourish in. I don't want them thinking too much.

"I want them to play basketball and use their athletic talents. As we go through the season eventually the spot light will shift to them because they are the ones that are going to get it done on the court. If we do what we are suppose to do then it will be a bright spot light on the players."

Having played with some of the greatest players in NBA history will Cooper ask some of them to stop by and give some pointers in practice? "At some point I may ask James Worthy to stop by. If I have to yeah, I will call out he big guns like Magic (Johnson) and Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar)," said Cooper with a smile."

Cooper said there may be moments when the team might need to hear from some former NBA players but he also realizes these players need to develop their own legacies. "It's not about rings until you win your own, it's about the knowledge it takes win those rings and that's what I am going to provide them."

 

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