As this second-year guard’s profile has risen on and off the court, good things have happened for her this offseason.
Los Angeles announced the re-signing of Te’a Cooper, who was a spark-plug in the wubble coming off the bench, on Monday morning in a press release.
Cooper was a late signing for the Sparks just prior to the start of the 2020 WNBA season that was to take place in Bradenton, FL following the opt-outs of Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver. The former Baylor guard had just come off a shortened college season due to the pandemic. She was drafted then waived by the Phoenix Mercury before Los Angeles signed her.
“It’s something that you can’t control,” Cooper said. Through it all, she stayed positive and optimistic while focusing on the things that mattered to her and her development.
In her rookie season, Cooper was a sponge as she learned quickly under the many veterans on the Sparks. Having extra time to chat with the coaching staff and teammates in the wubble as she began to adapt gave her a better sense of confidence to perform well and develop.
“They really made me aware of what to expect,” Cooper said about what her teammates and coaches helped her with. “They gave me the game plan and I followed it the best I could.”
Cooper appeared in 20 regular-season games as she averaged 7 points and 2 assists in 17.3 minutes per game. Energetic and pesky, Cooper’s defense was on display from the start and continued to blossom throughout the rest of the season.
“I want my defense to speak volumes,” Cooper said as she expressed some of her goals that she is working towards moving forward along with being consistent and efficient while also evolving on the offensive end.
Another big move for Cooper that happened this off-season was her being named a Jordan Brand athlete. The stylish guard is one of five WNBA players who became the latest additions to Jordan’s roster of athletes, as part the largest women’s roster for the brand.
It is a full-circle moment for Cooper being part of the Jordan Brand family as she was a participant in the inaugural Jordan Brand Classic tournament for girls in 2015.
“It’s an amazing feeling. It puts some energy in your back to push yourself and to go harder. You want to “Be like Mike,” Cooper gleefully said. “To have the brand believe in me, that was unbelievable to me.”
Cooper’s social profiles saw growth during the 2020 WNBA season as she emerged as an influential voice in the sport. She ranked No. 1 in the WNBA in social media engagement, per Opendorse, with 4.11 million impressions earned and a follower growth rate of 616.38% throughout the season.
Despite starting her professional career on a rocky start, Cooper has maintained a positive outlook every step of the way. During the season, she stayed ready for when her number was called giving the Los Angeles Sparks another sense of energy off the bench. There’s so much more that we will see from Cooper this season and in the rest of her career.
“I’m beyond thrilled and grateful to continue my career in Los Angeles,” Cooper said. This organization believed in me last year and I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity. I can’t wait to get back on the court and help the Sparks compete for a championship. I’m excited to continue learning and growing alongside Coach Fisher and my teammates.”