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Last weekend, DeMarcus Cousins did something really cool for a group of kids who were selling candy bars outside of the Kings’ hotel in Chicago following a game against the Bulls. He noticed that the kids—who were reportedly selling the candy bars for charity—were making almost no sales and that most people were walking by without even acknowledging them.
So according to CSN Bay Area, he took a bunch of money out of his pocket, handed it to the kids, and bought out their entire candy supply. And as if that wasn’t enough, he then took those candy bars and gave them all to the flight service staff that was working on the plane that brought the Kings to Detroit for a game against the Pistons on Tuesday night.
It was a pretty great story, but unfortunately, very few media outlets picked it up and ran with it. Part of it was because Cousins instead made headlines for kicking over a bunch of garbage cans after losing to the Bulls—and part of it was because Cousins is always hesitant to speak on the good deeds that he routinely does in different communities. He might have a loud mouth on the court (just ask any NBA referee!) but Cousins is most definitely not a self-promoter when it comes to the things he does to help others. It’s why so few people associate him with doing good deeds.
On Thursday, ESPN.com published a long—like, really long—profile piece on Cousins, and in it, writer Kevin Arnovitz examined this dynamic. On the one hand, Cousins is one of the most criticized players in the entire NBA because he has carved out a reputation for being a hothead both on and off the court. He’s often portrayed as a problematic player who serves as a distraction for his team. But on the other, Cousins seems like a genuinely good guy who does his fair share of nice acts without calling any attention to them.
Arnovitz asked Cousins about this and told him about how other players in his position might try to use their good deeds to paint themselves in a more favorable light. And Cousins responded by calling guys who do that fake and by discussing why he doesn’t send out a press release or put up a video every time he does something nice for someone else.
"It just shows you how fake this fucking league is," he said. "Everything is about, 'How can I make myself look good?' This isn’t a pure-hearted league, and there aren’t a lot of pure-hearted guys. I wasn’t raised that way. My mom would kick my ass if I helped someone across the street and said [handing over his phone], 'Here, record this.'"
The entire ESPN.com piece is worth a read. It might not bring you any closer to understanding who Cousins actually is—at this point, that might be impossible—but it might just give you a whole new perspective on the type of person he can be when he’s not complaining to referees and picking up technical fouls.