DA's Morning Tip

Morning Tip Q&A: DeMarcus Cousins

Morning Tip Q&A: DeMarcus Cousins

David Aldridge

Make no mistake, DeMarcus Cousins has no use for social media. “Social media is the devil,” he said last week. “Absolute devil. Oh, my God. It’s the worst thing ever…any Tweet, any opinion, it becomes a fact. It’s just stupid.” But this is the world in which Cousins lives — where, every six seconds or so, there’s another trade rumor involving the 26-year-old center that flies around the world in a nanosecond.

As the Kings are again struggling toward relevance this season, the annual guessing game about what the two-time All-Star, 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic team center could bring Sacramento in a trade has begun again. But Cousins continues to be worth the talk as he continues to be one of the league’s top two centers with Anthony Davis. Cousins is third in the NBA in scoring at 28.7 points per game and 12th in rebounding at 10.4 boards per game.

And off the court, Cousins is trying to increase his reach to improve relations between local communities and law enforcement. Inspired in part by fellow Olympian Carmelo Anthony, Cousins has hosted two community meetings between police and citizens — one in his native Mobile, AL, and one in Sacramento.

With everyone on edge these days — and, Cousins believes, scared — he hopes the meetings create opportunities to create some kind of dialogue and trust. It is something he says he’d like to continue.

Where he may be when he does the next one is, of course, a matter of conjecture. Unfortunately for him, Twitter loves conjecture.

Me: What do you think the kids got from the meetings, and what did you get from them?

DeMarcus Cousins: The biggest message is it’s mistakes on both sides. You can’t sit here just and blame it on them; you can’t just sit here and blame it on them. It’s victims on both sides. At the end of the day, everybody talks about what needs to be done, what this side needs to do and what this side needs to do. We can come together if we really want. If we really are trying to fix the issues, both sides will humble themselves and come to the table. And that’s basically what it was about.

Me: What did you hear that helped?

DMC: I heard some great things. There was one kid that was right before the meeting ended. His message was, how am I — this was a young high school kid — how am I just supposed to accept you coming into my life after everything that you’ve done? The crowd applauded. It was a great question. And you can understand where the kid’s coming from. So the officers were kind of stunned a little bit, and they responded. And I said, I told him, do you want this issue to be solved? He was like, yeah. I said, well, you’re going to have to open up as well. And that’s how we ended. I think both sides understood. I think we’re in a better place. Still a lot of work to do.

Me: Is there anything else you want to do with this going forward?

DMC: Absolutely. We’re working with Sacramento Police, Rosewood Police, officers in the local area. We’re going to try to do some events to get both sides together — picnics, games — just to get that vibe together, let it be known that it’s okay. Same thing back home. It’s a lot of things. Nothing’s set in stone yet, just a lot of ideas because of the schedules. But there’s some things in progress.

Me: When you were growing up, did you have anybody who played that role for you — a cop or anyone in law enforcement?

DMC: I actually, my AAU coach was a policeman. I reached out to him, talked to him after the current events, just to try to gain understanding. He kept it honest with me. I don’t want to say his name or anything, but he kept it honest with me, and was like, it’s f’ed up. There’s some bad cops. Me knowing him my whole life, I’ve seen how he’s interacted with people. We had troublemakers on our team, and I’ve seen how he’s handled it. It was rough for me. I’ve grown up with this guy most of my life, and I’ve also had issues with the police myself, personally, coming up through high school. And even as a professional. It was a struggle for me, but like I said, if we want this thing to work, it’s going to take both sides coming together.

Me: Is this something guys talk about in the locker room, and around the league?

DMC: I can’t speak for everybody in the league. I know that this is something that’s important to us in this locker room, Sacramento’s locker room. I can’t speak for the rest of the league.

Me: Where would you like to have more impact in Sacramento — any particular area, any particular neighborhood?

DMC: I’m in every ‘hood. (Laughs) I’m in every ‘hood. So, to be honest, I can’t connect with kids in suburban areas. That’s just not me. I don’t know how to fake it. Give me the baddest little kids you have, and we’re going to connect, you know? I’m in every ‘hood. That’s just me, personally.

Me: Do you think — beyond your success as an athlete, and your stardom, that you have a message that resonates with young people in the ‘hood?

DMC: Absolutely. I grew up in a rough area, went to an all-black school, public school. I hear some of these messages, see the kids and the messages that they’re always getting — you’re going to be in jail, you’re going to be dead, whatever the case may be. I’m like, (bleep) them. Don’t let them tell you how your life’s going to be. I was one of those kids, telling me I ain’t gonna be (bleep). (Bleep) you, you know? That’s basically my message. You make yourself be whatever the hell you want to be, at the end of the day. Nobody can tell you what your destiny is. That’s the main message I’m pushing. To this day, there’s people telling me what I can’t do, or who I am as a person. (Bleep) you. And that’s the same message I tell them.

Me: Have the cops been receptive to you and the idea of keeping this going forward?

DMC: Absolutely. They’ve been great. Our guy, Hakeem Sylver (head of team security), he’s gotten us in contact with the police departments. They’ve been great. I’m not aware if there’s been any situation in Sacramento like some of the things that have happened. I don’t believe it has … From what I know, all of them have been open to the idea. That’s a great thing.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

— 76ers center Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid), Wednesday, 8:16 p.m., after the Sixers decided to postpone their game with the Kings because of condensation on the floor. The game will be rescheduled and the team offered tickets to other games in December to fans who had purchased tickets for the game.

THEY SAID IT

“I’m a loner. I stay to myself sometimes. It’s just who I am. And being 28, I could finally say that now when I was younger, I was learning the NBA, I was learning who I was as becoming a man, and now with me having a kid, it kind of dawned on me, I’d never be the guy that loves attention or the fans.”

— Derrick Rose, in a Q&A with the New York Post.

“For me personally, I’m honored by the achievement and thankful for the opportunity, but it means more to others than it does to me. With what Muhammad Ali went through and what those guys went through growing up, that’s why I give so much back to those guys as much as I can — my words, my voice, my time. I just know the path that they gave us to where now we can, I can sit here and talk to you, free. It means a lot.”

— LeBron James, responding to being named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2016. It is the second time James has won the award.

“I don’t know if it’s because he’s not very tall and he runs around real quick or something, but everybody else has energy, too. They might not look like it, because they’re not built like…I’m not going to say. He’s just smaller and he runs around. Like a squirrel looks like he has more energy than an elephant, right?”

— Gregg Popovich, to local reporters, on the supposed perception that guard Patty Mills is the “energy” player off of the Spurs’ bench.

More Morning Tip: Clippers still searcing for consistency | DA’s Top 15 Rankings | Wolves struggling on defense

Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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