Former L.A. Laker Helps Kids Learn Basketball Skills - News, Sports and Weather

Former L.A. Laker Helps Kids Learn Basketball Skills

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These kids at Rocky Boy High School found out very quickly why Former Los Angeles Laker Michael Cooper has five NBA Titles.  Cooper played for the Lakers in the Showtime era with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar and James Worthy. He was known as a lockdown defender, winning Defensive player of the year in 1987. But surprisingly, "Defense" was not one of Coop's Five D's.

"Which are determination, dedication, desire, discipline and decision making," says Cooper.  "You can incorporate those into your student life as well as into your athletic life."

Cooper was in Montana to help the local kids become better athletes *and* students, which included kids as young as eight and players from Box Elder's 2014 State Title winning team.

"It's kind of unreal," says Box Elder senior Brandon The Boy. "I've never been this close to an NBA star. But he has five rings. I'm just trying to take in as much as I can."

"You can see it in their faces and their eyes. These kids are delightful. They're enthused," says Monty Marengo, who was in charge of putting on the camp. "They're in awe. They're amazed. They're not used to such hard work but you got a five time world champion here. And he didn't get here sitting on his Laurels. So he brings a work ethic that they need."

Cooper used the camp to pass on his message through words and action. Even the youngest of the kids had fun learning to play defense from one of the NBA's best all-time defenders.

"It's like, defense. Put your hands up like you have the ball," says eight-year-old Tierra Parker. "Then sometimes to make it harder, he tells you to bend down and get really low."

It was a day where the players gained skills as an athlete and for succeeding in the classroom.

"One thing I try to pass on to the kids is that they're student-athletes, not athlete-students," says Cooper. "Because one day basketball is going to bounce out of their lives or whatever sport that they're in, get too old or get injured. If they got a good head on their shoulders it's going to take them a lot further."

Maybe not as far as five NBA titles, that is unless, some of these kids have the determination, dedication, desire and discipline to make the decision….to go for it.

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