Lanard Copeland is one of the greatest American players ever to come to the National Basketball League.
The graduate of Georgia State University arrived in Australia in 1992 and immediately took the league by storm, forging the greatest backcourt partnership in NBL history with the one and only Andrew Gaze and helping the Tigers to their first Grand Final appearance when they fell to the Brian Goorjian-led South East Melbourne Magic in a classic battle.
‘Copes’ would go one better the next season when he and Andrew overcame the Perth Wildcats to win the first NBL championship in Tigers’ history.
He would go on to win another title in 1997, also for the Tigers, and played a total of 449 games for Melbourne before closing his remarkable NBL career with brief stops in Brisbane and Adelaide.
He also has an NBA pedigree, playing for both the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers prior to his arrival on these shores, but it is with the NBL that he gained the most fame with his Grand Final Series Most Valuable Player award in 1997 and his two All-NBL First-Team nods in 1999 and 2002.
Since his retirement, he has emerged as a quality coach, having served as the assistant to Phil ‘The General’ Smyth at the ACB Academy before being named head coach of the Hume City Broncos in the Big V competition. In addition, he was the head coach of the Victorian State High School champions, Haileybury College, leading his charges to the 2014 title.
Copeland was an all-time great as a player and the Sydney Kings are proud that he is now a part of one of Australia’s most iconic sporting teams. His ability to develop players, his basketball knowledge and his upbeat, positive attitude will all be key ingredients in what will be a strong Sydney Kings culture.