LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Former Los Angeles Lakers guard Michael Cooper was among the nine first-time finalists announced 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, 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.
Four of the other first-time finalists also have ties to the Los Angeles area. Paul Pierce played at Inglewood High School before playing at Kansas and 19 seasons in the NBA. Marianne Stanley was the USC women's basketball coach from 1989-93 and a Los Angeles Sparks assistant coach in the 2000, 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Rick Adelman played at now-closed Pius X High School and Loyal Marymount before a seven-season NBA playing career and 23-season NBA head coaching career. Yolanda Griffith played for the Long Beach Stingrays of the defunct American Basketball League during their lone 1997-98 season.
Former Crenshaw High and UCLA standout Marques Johnson was among the five repeat finalists.
The Hall of Fame's Class of 2021 will be announced May 16.
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