Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is quite the polarizing figure among basketball fans. Some focus on the fact that he averaged 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds per game last season and believe he’s one of the best centers in the NBA. Others focus on his technical fouls and hot-headedness and dislike him.
Well, Kings minority owner Shaquille O’Neal seems to be in the former camp and defended Cousins’ temperament in an interview with Dime Magazine.
“I tell him, ‘be yourself and dominate.’ First of all, if you don’t put numbers up, nobody’s going to look at you. Now that people are looking at you, you have to make them respect you. Sometimes when you do crazy stuff, nobody’s going to like it. But you can’t tame that passion. I want my big man to be mean. I don’t want my big man smiling all the time, so I don’t mind. All the greatest players were angry, and they talked all the time. Charles Barkley, myself, so many others. But we also put up numbers, we were positive and did the right things in the community.
“Cousins will get technicals, he’s going to argue with the referees. That’s called passion and you never want to take a guy’s passion away. And not every guy has passion. I know, because I can give you five big guys right now who don’t have passion. I won’t tell you, but you know who they are.”
To Shaq’s point, one can’t make the argument that Cousins doesn’t care about the game. But it’s fair for others to be concerned about how many technicals he’s racked up.
For Cousins, he likely won’t be able to shed his reputation and receive the recognition he deserves for his basketball ability until he starts leading the Kings to some wins. We all know winning cures all and the fact that Cousins has yet to make the playoffs so far in his career is one of the biggest reasons why he’s received so much criticism about his behavior as of late.