Father of Oakland basketball player Max Hooper dies

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Max Hooper

Detroit -- On Friday, Feb. 26, Chip Hooper got to see his son play basketball at Oakland University for the first time.

Sadly, it also was the last time.

The father of Oakland 3-point star Max Hooper passed away Saturday in California at age 53.

Chip Hooper was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, and suffered a stroke in October.

Max Hooper was back home in California with his mother and sister Sunday, a day before Oakland is scheduled to play in the semifinals of the Horizon League tournament at Joe Louis Arena.

Oakland coach Greg Kampe told The Detroit News the university has a plane to get him back in time for the game, but Max Hooper's status still is to be determined.

"He needs to do whatever his heart tells him to do," Kampe said, relaying what he told Max Hooper.

Kampe said Max Hooper does want to play, as Oakland battles for a bid in the NCAA Tournament.

Last week, Max Hooper sat down with The News to talk about his Dad's profound influence on his career.

OU's Hooper perseveres amid father's declining health

The pair's basketball bond began when Max Hooper was 4 years old, and father and son were on a ski trip in Utah. Up late one night, they watched the Utah Jazz game on TV, and Max Hooper was hooked for life.

"I feel like my dad and my basketball journey are synonymous with each other," said Hooper, whose college career has taken him from Harvard to St. John's to, finally, Oakland the last two years.

Chip Hooper was a power broker in the music industry for several decades, representing such big-ticket acts as the Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Coldplay, Aerosmith and Ed Sheeran. He was head of music at Paradigm, with a client list of hundreds.

Chip Hooper was a seven-time winner of the "Bobby Brooks Award," given to agent of the year, by Pollstar Magazine.

He is survived by two children, Max and Valerie, and his wife, Laura.

Max Hooper is in his second season at Oakland, and until Feb. 26, because of his declining health, Chip Hooper hadn't seen him play at Oakland. He called Max Hooper around midnight on Feb. 25 to tell him he was making the trip to Rochester for the regular-season finale against rival Detroit.

During the game, a 108-97 Oakland victory, Chip Hooper watched the game from a bed in the stands at the O'Rena. After the game, in a heart-tugging scene, Max Hooper went into the stands to give his dad a long hug.

"Our prayers are with Max and his family," Oakland athletic director Jeff Konya said. "Obviously, it's incredibly emotional for all of our family, but more so for Max and his family.

"Everyone grieves in their own way. We're going to let Max make the right decision, and the team is behind him 100 percent."

Max Hooper, a 6-foot-6, 201-pound guard, has made national headlines this season for taking 229 shots, with all of them being 3-pointers. He's made 102 of them, good for 44.5 percent.

Oakland on Monday night is to play the winner of Sunday afternoon's Detroit-Wright State game.