LThe NBA is in mourning after learning of the death of Wayne Cooper, former player with 14 seasons of experience in the league, at 65 years of age for reasons hitherto unknown. Cooper, 2.08, stood out as a defensive pvot and became one of the great bullies in the NBA during the 1980s.
Cooper, born in Georgia in 1956, was trained in the University of New Orleans where I averaged 12.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. In his last season with the Privateers, the Milan forward was nominated as the best player in the Sun Belt Conference after registering more than 18 points and 12.7 rebounds per game, leading his team to become champions of their conference.
However, his good numbers in his last season and his imposing physique did not earn him the attention of the NBA franchises. He had to wait for number 40 in the second round to be elected in a draft that elevated Mychal Thompson, father of Klay, and in which Larry Bird was selected with the number 6.
The Warriors selected Cooper to give rest minutes to Robert Parish in the paint. The Georgia pvot spent two seasons in Oakland before signing with the Utah Jazz in a trade that sent all-star Bernard King to the Warriors.
Cooper only stayed one season in Salt Lake City after average 6.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per match before packing up again to head to Dallas (9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks) and later to Portland, where he fulfilled a note in his first stage.
Denver and Portland, way back and forth
In 1984 the Blazers looked at a scorer like Kiki Vandeweghe and they sent a pack made up of Fat Lever, Calvin Natt and Wayne Cooper to Denver. The pvot lived his best stage in the NBA in Colorado, where he was the undisputed starter and stood out as one of the best defensive midfielders in the league with 2.3 blocks per game.
In 1989 Cooper returned to Portland as a free agent and although his role was less than in the Nuggets, he lived the best moment of his sports career by playing two NBA finals (1990 and 1992) against Isiah Thomas’s Detroit Pistons and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
One of the architects of the Kings
After retiring in 1994, Cooper joined the Sacramento Kings coaching staff where he stayed for two years, until the Californian franchise promoted him to Vice President of Operations. As a manager, he is one of those responsible for the construction of the most glorious stage of the Kings with the signings of Chris Webber or Vlade Divac and the acquisitions of Stojakovic or Jason Williams.