Many NBA stars are making their voices heard as the public debate around the police treatment of African-Americans continues to grow. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony opened the ESPYs with a bold statement that set the tone, and the famously politically quiet Michael Jordan even spoke out.
Now DeMarcus Cousins has added his perspective. Cousins participated in an Anthony-led group discussion with the USA Basketball teams, Los Angeles Police Department officials, and community leaders. Afterward, he shared a troubling story with ESPN’s The Undefeated.
Cousins said he was “scared for (his) life” when police officers pointed rifles at him when he was a high schooler in his hometown of Mobile, Ala.
“I remember it being after a high school game,” Cousins said, according to The Undefeated. “Me and my friends are riding home, we hop out of the car at one of the friends’ house and (the cops) pulled up on us, pulled guns on us and everything. The only reason we were good was because we were wearing our school hoodies that read, LeFlore High School. ‘Sir, we are just leaving our high school game.’ ‘What’s your name?’ ‘I’m DeMarcus Cousins.’”
The police officer recognized his name—and, of course, Cousins is a recognizable figure—so he let them go. That was seven years ago; Cousins was 18.
Cousins has been close to a different Mobile police officer, a mentor to him, for years. He calls him “one of the good guys.”
“I’ve learned about both sides,” Cousins said. “I respect him. I just had dinner with him the other day in Vegas. Me and his son grew up playing basketball together…I know there are good (cops). I know that there are not good ones. He told me the truth, which I respect. The truth is there are good and bad. We know that. That’s the case in a lot of situations. It’s not just with (policemen). It’s throughout the world.”
Cousins has not always been known for his maturity, so it’s great to see him take a mature and wise approach while speaking his mind.
Cousins and the USA Basketball team are back in action in an exhibition tonight vs. Venezuela in Chicago.
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