Skip to main content

Michael Cooper on the toughest offensive players he has ever faced

Michael-Cooper-Larry-Bird

Michael Cooper is one of the most underrated players in the NBA's history, as the shooting guard was a vital piece of the "Showtime" Lakers from the '80s, playing his role to perfection. Through his whole career that he spent in Los Angeles, Coop was known as a defensive specialist, often guarding the opposing team's best perimeter player.

Playing in the '80s, the golden era of NBA basketball, Cooper was matched up with great players on a nightly basis, and he shared the most challenging opponents he ever faced while talking on his podcast.

"Some of the top ones were George Gervin, the late great Mike Mitchell, he could score, man, people forget how good that guy was, mid-range and close to the basket, obviously a young Michael Jordan, but the hardest one would have to be Larry Bird and the only reason I say this is because Larry was dangerous with the basketball, but he became more dangerous when he didn't have the basketball."

Michael Cooper, Showtime with Coop

Cooper went on to explain what set Bird apart from other great players he had to match up with, such as George Gervin or Michael Jordan. These are the things most fans don't notice. 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"Players like Michael Jordan, when Michael threw the ball away, he kinda rested a little bit, Mike Mitchell threw it to Gervin, and Gervin would rest, and vice versa. But Larry was gonna go rebound the ball; he was gonna set a pick for somebody. When he has the ball, if he wasn't scoring, he was looking to throw it to somebody to score, so he has to be the toughest simply from the mental aspect of the game."

Michael Cooper, Showtime with Coop

Those are some great names Cooper listed, with Bird taking the title of the toughest one simply for the fact you could never take a second off while checking him. Obviously, being matched up with Bird in numerous Celtics-Lakers battles helped his case. To conclude, Cooper mentioned another name that is not as known as the other guys he mentioned.

"Another player I would like to bring up, that people have a tendency to forget too, that f--kin Andrew Toney..., there was nobody that could guard that dude, man Andrew Toney was a flat-out b--ch on that basketball court, that guy went at you at all positions.

Michael Cooper, Showtime with Coop

It is always great to hear stories about the great players from the '80s, especially the underappreciated ones. And when it comes first hand from one of the scrappiest and toughest defenders of that era, you know it's the real deal.

5 notable 2022 rookies - NBA stars comparisons

The playing style of these 5 notable 2022 rookies already resembles their NBA counterparts

Five of this year's pool of rookies already resemble the playing styles of some of the current NBA stars

Stephen A. Smith bashes New York Knicks draft activity

“Everybody got something but one team, and that’s the New York Knicks - Stephen A. Smith bashes New York Knicks draft activity

The Knicks seemed to have pulled off a sweet move for Jalen Duren, but ended up trading him to the Detroit Pistons, which enraged many Knicks fans, including Stephen A. Smith

Terrell Brandon on being hyped as the best point guard during the 90s

Terrell Brandon on being hyped as the best point guard in the 90s: "It's a little embarrassing"

In 1997, Sports Illustrated hailed Terrell Brandon as the best point guard in the NBA. However, "Tee Bee" just laughed and downplayed it all

Mark Madsen on Kobe Bryant's intensity

Mark Madsen describes Kobe Bryant's intensity: "If you miss the third one, he was comin’ at you"

Mark Madsen was never a key figure for the Lakers but Kobe Bryant didn't take that as an excuse not to deliver. Not even during practice sessions.

Dirk Nowitzki explains why he doesn't attend as many Mavericks games

Dirk Nowitzki explains why he doesn't often come to Mavs games: "I just needed a little mental break"

When Dirk says he needed a break from everything about basketball, the Mavericks are not exempted

The Orlando Magic passing on Chet Holmgren is the same type of blunder as to when the Trail Blazers passed on Kevin Durant
Play

Orlando Magic passing on Chet Holmgren is a Kevin Durant type of blunder

This could be such a pivotal before and after moment that our kids will look back at this day and laugh at the absurdity.

Michael-Jordan-Wilt-Chamberlain

"Coming into the paint would've not been very wise for Michael!"-Wilt thinks Jordan would not have been as good in his era

Wilt seemed to think MJ didn't have enough height or weight to fly over the big men of the 60s'.

How Kobe Bryant spent his millions
Play

How Kobe Bryant spent his millions outside of the game of basketball

Bryant quickly bought a $4 million home in Newport Beach after committing his future to the Lakers, and he would eventually end up owning four houses in Orange Beach worth nearly $40 million combined.