Brother of former Lakers player Michael Cooper shot to death in Pasadena

The brother of former Lakers great Michael Cooper was shot and killed Saturday in the same Pasadena park where the brothers played basketball as youths.

Cooper, a basketball analyst for KABC-TV Channel 7, confirmed to the station that the victim of the Washington Park shooting was his brother, Mickey, 64. Michael said he and Mickey played in the park when they were kids.

Police responded to a shooting around 4 a.m. in the 700 block of East Washington Boulevard after being alerted by the ShotSpotter sound detection system that recognizes loud, repetitive sounds that may be gunshots, according to the Pasadena Police Department. The man was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The ShotSpotter system was approved by the Pasadena City Council and implemented in early 2022 after officials were alarmed by a wave of violence that included a stray bullet that killed Iran Moreno-Balvaneda, a 13-year-old boy who He played video games at home.

Pasadena police documented 60 shootings in which four people were killed and 25 others were injured between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, a figure the department says has increased about 10% in 2021.

More than 700 firearms, many from vehicles, belts and residences as a result of search warrants, were seized in 2020 and 2021, Pasadena Deputy Chief Cheryl Moody said at a news conference after Moreno-Balvaneda’s murder.

“The threat of gun violence is a real danger, and the Pasadena Police Department is working diligently to get guns off the streets and out of the hands of those who seek to harm others,” Moody said. The department will continue its commitment to conduct additional patrols and intelligence gathering “to combat this series of shootings.”

Michael and Mickey Cooper were raised in Pasadena primarily by their grandmother, Ardessie Butler, after their parents, Marshall and Jean, divorced when the children were young. Jean, who had 10 siblings, worked as a registered nurse and the children grew up in a hectic home.

“We were 18 people gathered around the dinner table,” Michael said during his 12-year Lakers career. “And if you didn’t get there on time, you didn’t get chicken.”

Michael Cooper, 67, played on the Lakers’ five world championship teams in the 1980s and was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1986-87. He later became an assistant coach for the Lakers, head coach of the WNBA Sparks, leading them to league titles in 2001 and 2002, and head coach of the USC women’s basketball team.

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