In the early 2000s, Brooklyn, New York’s Lenny Cooke was deemed a better high school basketball player than LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.
As a junior in high school at New Jersey’s Northern Valley High School. Cooke posted
25 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. But after bad decisions, wrong counsel, bad grades and more, he went from being a potential NBA lottery pick and playing against LeBron James in Sonny Vaccaro’s ABCD Camp to suiting up for the Shanghai Dongfang Sharks.
Lenny Cooke is now coaching high school basketball in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
He is now also spreading his message and getting youngster to learn from his mistakes. In the past year, Cooke’s appeared at Microsoft in Manhattan with fellow high school legend Schea Cotton and hosted a panel at West Philadelphia’s Mount Olivet Tabernacle Baptist Church with Reverend Andre L. Price.
Recently Cooke conducted charity basketball tournaments and recently spearheaded his Lenny Cooke Organization. The Lenny Cooke Organization’s mission is to help children ages 8-18 in communities establish themselves with goals and achieving them.
In his spare time Cooke enjoys cooking; how fitting. He does some catering, as a side source of income.
Still attached to the game and keeping in touch with folks like Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith and Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Cooke has his views on today’s basketball culture.
A topic of interest for Cooke these days? The NBA’s one and done rule.
“I mean I disagree a little bit,” Lenny Cooke to Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on an episode of Scoop B Radio.
The NBA’s ruling states that a player must be 19 years old or one year removed from their high school’s graduating class.
“Because I feel like when you making these kids go to school before they put their name in the draft they should have to do at least 2 years instead of one because two years you got, it take 2 years to get an associates degree. So if you’re just going for one year, it ain’t really benefitting you. You’re still a child. I mean, at the end of the day, one year’s not going to; you know what I’m saying? Make you or break you! But at the same time, if you get hurt, you see what I’m saying? Then you’re done.”
After declaring for the 2002 NBA Draft and going undrafted, Cooke fell on hard times. Cooke was the subject of a documentary, Lenny Cooke, a Joakim Noah, Ben Safdie and Josh Safdie produced documentary released in 2013 that appears frequently on Showtime.