Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Michael Cooper and former UCLA, Los Angeles Clippers and Crenwhaw High forward Marques Johnson were among the 11 finalists announced Friday for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Despite playing behind Bryon Scott most of his career, the 6-foot-5-inch Cooper was a five-time first-team NBA All-Defensive Team selection, a two-time second-team selection and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year for the 1986-87 season.
Cooper, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were the only Lakers to play on all five of their championship teams in the 1980s.
Cooper played at Pasadena High School before playing at the University of New Mexico. He was chosen by the Lakers in the third round of the 1978 NBA draft, the 60th overall selection.
Johnson was a five-time NBA All-Star Game selection during an 11-season career, the first seven with the Milwaukee Bucks, three with the Los Angeles Clippers and one with the Golden State Warriors, averaging 20.1 points per game.
Johnson was the third-leading scorer on UCLA’s 1975 NCAA championship team. He was the consensus national player of the year as a senior in the 1976-77 season.
A third finalist also has ties to the Los Angeles area. Marianne Stanley was USC’s women’s basketball coach from 1989-93 and a Los Angeles Sparks assistant coach in the 2000, 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Stanley was a finalist mainly because of her 1977-87 stint as Old Dominion’s coach, when she guided the Lady Monarchs to the 1979 and 1980 Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women championships and 1985 NCAA championship.
A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame’s 2022 class will be announced April 2.