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Former Blazers Center Wayne Cooper Passes at 65

The center spent five years in Portland, helping the Blazers to the 1990 and 1992 Finals.

Portland Trail Blazers vs Denver Nuggets Photo by Tim DeFrisco/Allsport/Getty Images

Former Portland Trail Blazers center Wayne Cooper has passed away at the age of 65. The news comes from the Denver Nuggets’ official Twitter feed.

The text:

We are saddened to hear of the passing of a great Nugget, teammate, and person, Wayne Cooper.

He will be sorely missed, and our thoughts are with his family at this time.

Rest In Peace

Cooper played for the Nuggets for five seasons out of his 14-year NBA career. He also played for five seasons in Portland, most notably as a pivotal bench player during the Blazers’ runs to the Conference Finals and NBA Finals between 1990 and 1992.

Cooper was drafted 40th overall in the 1978 NBA Draft. He played two seasons for the Golden State Warriors, then spent a year each with the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks, before finding a happy home in Portland in 1982. The Blazers acquired Cooper and the draft pick that would eventually become Terry Porter in a summer trade with Dallas, in which the Blazers sent back point guard Kelvin Ransey.

Cooper started 98 out of 161 games for the Blazers during the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons. In June of 1984, he became part of the mega-deal with the Nuggets that included Fat Lever and Calvin Natt, exchanged for small forward Kiki Vandeweghe.

Cooper played five full seasons in Denver, becoming a beloved franchise figure, before returning to Portland as a free agent in 1989 to help solidify the Blazers’ frontcourt. He appeared in 181 regular-season games and 24 playoffs games during his second tour in the Rose City, welcomed every bit as warmly, and remembered as fondly, as he was in Denver.

Blazer’s Edge offers condolences and comfort to Mr. Cooper’s family, friends, and loved ones. Thank you for sharing him with us. His talents made a difference to us. He will be missed.