Typically, NBA rookies give it all they got in their debut season with their respective teams to prove they deserve those minutes. But the former Los Angeles Lakers guard Michael Cooper didn't get that chance.
Instead of learning his trade in his maiden campaign with the "Purple and Gold," Cooper incurred a major injury and had to sit almost the entire season.
Blessing in disguise
For sure, most of us think that it was very unfortunate for Coop to get hurt in his rookie season in the league. But as it turned out, the man himself admitted that the injury even did his career good.
According to Cooper, there was no chance he would've made it to that Lakers squad as the team was stacked with All-Stars and veterans. But with him sidelined, the Lakers were prompted to keep him and let him get healthy in the gym for the rest of the season.
“I had to break in and it was very fortunate that I did get injured because I don’t think I would have been able to make the team at that time,” Cooper told OPOstories. “So that was good for me to have that injury because what I had to do then was just sit to the side… At that specific time all I did was just get healthy from the practice do a little bit of understanding what the game was about and that really helped me.”
A beautiful career
To show his gratitude to the storied franchise, Cooper spent his entire NBA career with the Lakers. In the process, he became a five-time NBA champion.
In those five championships, Coop had an array of memorable moments but the one he considers the sweetest victory of them all was the 1985 NBA Finals, the year they first beat their arch-rivals Boston Celtics.
“’85 was probably the best for me,” Cooper recalled. “I like that because it was the first time we were able to defeat the Boston Celtics and being a Laker fan, Boston was always the team we had to beat. And watching them over the years, they always beat the Lakers… With Jerry West and Elgin [Baylor], Lakers could never beat that team so that was the fun part for me, ’85.”
Despite its unusual trajectory, Copper’s NBA career still turned out to be great. It also goes to show that injuries don’t always mean the end. Sometimes, it’s the beginning of something beautiful.