After Two Years Off To Help Wife Battle Cancer, Brian Cook Seeks Comeback

You may or may not remember Brian Cook. He was drafted 24th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2003, and has played for five different teams over nine seasons. Cook has been away from the NBA for two years while his wife battled cancer. He’s attempting a comeback this summer.

For the past two seasons, Cook pressed pause on his career in order to help her wife Victoria battle cancer. We’re happy to report that Cook’s wife is now cancer free. Cook is trying to get back in the league, and is currently playing in the Orlando Pro Summer League with the Detroit Pistons.

Cook has a previous relationship with Stan Van Gundy, having played for him while he was coaching the Orlando Magic. In an interview with Fran Blinebury of NBA Hang Time Blog, he detailed how he ended up at summer league:

“I’ve really missed being out there on the court competing every day,” Cook said. “I know some people might think it’s kind of strange to try to do this at this point or it’s a long shot. But I kind of think that I still have something to contribute to the game and I’m looking to maybe get in a couple of years.”

Cook, who was a first-round draft choice of the Lakers in 2003 and played for five different teams — also Magic, Rockets, Clippers, Wizards — in nine seasons, reached out to Stan Van Gundy as soon his former coach took over in Detroit and asked for an opportunity in the summer league. He is here with no guarantees, no promises.

“I called him right away,” Cook said. “As a free agent, I can try to get on anywhere. But I’m comfortable with Stan’s offense and I’m also comfortable with the way he respected me and treated me and really cared about me when I played for him here in Orlando. Those are the kind of things that you take for granted as young kid and then come to appreciate more once you mature and have been around the block a few times in different situations. You really come to appreciate it even more when you’ve been at home like I have for the past several years helping my wife and being with the family.”

The Pistons may not be an ideal fit for Cook, as they’re in the midst of a youth movement. But Cook is still just 33 years old and a career 38.2 percent shooter from downtown. If he can rediscover his stroke after so much time off, there’s still room in the league for a player with his skill set.

Even if an NBA team doesn’t come calling, there are other options for Cook if he wants to resume his career. Whether it’s spending time in the D-League or perhaps playing overseas, where leagues — such as the China Baskeball Association — can offer him a shorter schedule and more time with his family.

It’s great to hear about his wife’s recovery, and how it’s paved the way for Cook to take one more chance at professional basketball. Here’s hoping he finds a spot on a roster next season, and his wife continues to kick cancer’s butt.

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