There have always been critics of DeMarcus Cousins, and recent comments by USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo were just the latest in a long line. After Cousins was left off the Olympics roster, Colangelo informed reporters that Cousins “has a lot of growing up to do” “before there’s discussion about him being part of our program.”
Critics have called Cousins lazy. They’ve called him a trouble-maker. And they’ve certainly called him immature. But Kentucky fans never quite bought into “Boogie’s” supposed behavior problems. To Big Blue Nation, he was a big, lovable teddy bear who played his heart out and wore his emotions on his sleeves. Unfortunately the teddy bear can’t seem to shake the one label that’s always haunted him: “immature”. Even Cousins himself seems mystified by the constant assumption that he’s immature and troublesome, going so far as to question Colangelo’s comments on the young star’s Olympics tryout.
“I asked him how I was being immature,” Cousins revealed. “He never really gave me an answer. He just said it was his opinion. I told him I’m just trying to come out and play hard. I’m not trying to be any of that. I have respect for every veteran in here, so at the end of the day, I’m really just trying to play hard.”
Colangelo wasn’t the only one commenting on Cousins’ attempt to earn a spot on the Olympics roster. Carmello Anthony claimed that “He fouled the shit outta everyone.”
But Kobe Bryant defended Cousins’ efforts. “European basketball is extremely physical,” Bryant said. “He brings a physicality to the game that really changes the energy of the game. He’s not afraid to make contact, he’s not afraid to upset guys and kind of make the game uncomfortable.”
Cousins has always been a dominant inside force, and it seems a number of observers mistook his physical influence and aggressiveness for immaturity. The talking heads of the basketball world have trouble changing their opinions, and when a story gives them sparks they’re hesitant to abandon it. Cousins as a thug is a story that might never go away, despite “Boogie’s” nature as a gentle giant who loves his sport.
“If I get my name called, I’ll gladly accept,” Cousins said. “If not, I’m still going to enjoy the experience.” I guess he’ll just have to enjoy the experience this time around.
Kentucky fans may forever remain the only ones that are a part of the secret. They’re the select group who knows Cousins is in fact lovable, determined, and anything but immature.
Filed Under: Basketball
About the Author: Corey Tincher is a lifelong Kentucky fan and professional writer who couldn't keep the two worlds apart. He is the lead contributor for StraitCats.com and literally wrote the book on the 2012 NCAA Tournament Championship run, Big Blue Articles: Kentucky Basketball in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Follow @Corey_Tincher on Twitter for more Kentucky news and discussion.