Wayne Cooper, former Trail Blazers center, has passed away at the age of 65.
The Trail Blazers issued a press release Tuesday with a statement on Cooper’s passing, and sharing condolences to his friends and family.
Press Release –
The Portland Trail Blazers organization is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former player Wayne Cooper. Cooper, a center in the NBA for 14 years, was a valuable member of the Trail Blazers organization for five seasons (1982-84, 1989-92) as a force in the paint. Our hearts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.
Off the court, Cooper was a tremendous friend, father, husband and a leader within his community. Per his family, Wayne passed away of complications from kidney disease. Service and memorial donation information will follow.
“It is an incredibly sad day for all of us that knew Wayne,” said Geoff Petrie, former Trail Blazers guard. “He was a remarkable friend, adviser and incredible human being. As part of one of the best groups in Trail Blazers history in the late 80s and early 90s, he was a consummate team guy, loyal and had a great feel for people. Around these parts, we will forever miss the man known as ‘Big Papa’.”
“Wayne Cooper was an amazing teammate, friend, father and husband,” said Terry Porter, former Trail Blazers guard. “He was a vital part of the thrilling Western Conference Finals runs and someone you knew you could always rely on, on and off the court. He was a huge part of the Rip City community who will be sorely missed by all those that were lucky enough to know him.”
The Georgia-native appeared in 342 games across his five seasons in Portland, averaging 6.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.20 blocks. Wayne spent his final three seasons in the league as a Trail Blazer, helping the team to three consecutive Western Conference Finals and trips to the NBA Finals in 1989-90 and 1991-92.