Shoni & Jude Schimmel greeting their American Indian following after Oklahoma Sooners game.
Former LA Laker Michael Cooper Compares Shoni Schimmel’s Pro Entry to when Magic Johnson Entered NBA
ATLANTA— As the WBNA season is set to begin, Atlanta Dream head coach Michael Cooper sat down to assess his team. Cooper is a former Los Angeles Laker, who played on championship teams in the 1980s with Magic Johnson.
In an interview with Swish Appeal, Cooper compares the excitement surrounding Shoni Schimmel (Umatilla) with what it was like when Magic Johnson entered the NBA.
Swish Appeal: Shoni Schimmel’s jersey has already sold out. When you go to Tulsa, it might be like an Atlanta home game. Do you think the popularity of a player like Schimmel puts pressure on a coach to play her more often than she would be played otherwise?
Cooper: No. The important thing is that she learns and has fun and continues to grow as a player. Whatever those steps are – is it playing for five minutes, is it playing for twenty-five minutes? – we don’t know, we’ll take our time with that. She has to fit into what we’re doing here. I think she’s doing a great job so far. The one thing I love about her is that she’s eager to learn more, and that’s why I have her sitting with me, so I can talk to her as the game goes and talk to her about different things, because eventually we’re going to put the ball in her hands and it’s going to be hers – and then her and Celine will have to fight it out.
But it’s going to be fun traveling. It reminds me of my early years with Magic. Magic was like the traveling circus; everywhere we went people wanted to see Magic. Same thing with Shoni. Big crowds in Seattle, Minnesota, and Tulsa? That’s great! If we can get our away games to feel like home, we’re going to win those.