The question DeMarcus Cousins asked last summer seems absurd in retrospect, but it was an honest moment of uncertainty and insecurity you rarely see from an NBA star. Especially from someone who has never been all that comfortable in front of the camera.
Only a few months removed from tearing his Achilles tendon and in the middle of a grueling rehab process, filmmakers captured the moment when one of the most offensively gifted centers the NBA has ever seen was finalizing his shocking free agent deal with the Golden State Warriors.
“Am I making a mistake?” Cousins pondered to the camera.
Seriously?!? Cousins actually questioned if he was making the right call signing a one-year deal with the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors that feature Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Nine months later, joining the organization that every other organization strives to be turned out to be golden since Cousins is headed for his first postseason and most likely a shot at a title.
“I believe I made the right decision,” says Cousins. “Everything happens for a reason.”
The raw moment of uncertainty was just one of many interesting, illuminating, and poignant moments captured in THE RESURGENCE: DeMarcus Cousins, the documentary that chronicles Cousins’s journey from his devastating injury 14 months ago to his debut with the Warriors this past January.
Before it drops on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Showtime), we talked to Boogie about why he let cameras get so close, his emotions when he learned most of the league was wary of signing him last summer, and his reaction to the death of Nipsey Hussle.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
You’ve expressed in the past that you’re not the biggest fan of having cameras around at press conferences and other instances, so what was it like being followed intimately for this?
It was a bit overwhelming, obviously. I’m not the most comfortable under those circumstances. But we dealt with it to the best of our abilities. I also found the positives in it. It was cool while it lasted. I’m just glad people can appreciate and also be able to witness my story as it unfolds.
You had cameras around you almost immediately after the injury. How quickly did you put this project together?
It came together quite quickly. It was something that my team just came up with and rolled with it. It started with a family friend and it was his camera. And eventually he got put on with the Showtime crew and [became] executive producer and all that. It was not only my story unfolding, but his as well. It kind of just started off as a family friend and it became something bigger.
The rehab looked hard and you clearly had your down moments. Do you remember what the lowest point was?
I can remember just sitting around in my cast and I would just sit there all day. Every day I would just wake up and sit on the couch and just watch TV. I’ve been the type to just get up and go or I’m finding something to do, I’m on some type of grind every single day. But, at that point, that was the first point where I was just sitting around doing nothing. And I could just see myself just feeling like a piece of shit. I hated it.
How many times did you question why the injury occurred because you had an interesting line in there where you said you felt like you “did everything you were supposed to.”
I would probably say that was my first week with everything that was going on. But it quickly went from “why me” to “what is it preparing me for?” Once I kind of developed that mindset that’s when things started rolling for me in a more positive way and I kind of got my momentum behind me to push through. I got cleared to do some upper body stuff, you know, do some type of activity. So once I could do that I put a lot of anger and built up energy into that and, like I said, I just tried to push forward. I told myself, it’s not “why is it happening?” It’s “what am I preparing myself for, what’s next?”
Did you burn the walking-boot and destroy your crutches when you were done with them like you promised?
I don’t know where that shit is. I hope I never see it again [laughs]. I don’t know where it is and I could care less.
What was tougher: the rehab or finding out there wasn’t as much interest in you as a free agent as you anticipated?
It all kind of went hand-in-hand. I could kind of see it unfolding, seeing the narrative put out. The stories being leaked from different sources and all of that. You could kind of see it happening—you could see the storm brewing before it actually hit. That’s why I just had to kind of prepare myself for everything and figure out what my next step was and what my next plan was.
You said you really wanted to be appreciated with your free agency decision. How have the Warriors made you feel appreciated?
One, my health. It matters. I feel like every player appreciates that. Our health is the No. 1 thing for the organization. Obviously, they have the leeway to make that possible. Health is probably the No. 1 thing that gets overlooked for a player.
What's different about playing for the Warriors than you previously thought looking from the outside in?
Just the preparation, how we go about things. It’s one of a kind, it’s first class. It’s a reason there’s a level of success they had. They cater to us differently. It’s just different. People don’t really understand unless they’re in it. It’s first class and it’s definitely one of a kind.
You had a line in there where you said “Am I making a mistake?” when you had just signed with the Warriors. What kind of mistake would you be making joining the Warriors?
It was basically just everything from my whole career. Am I taking the right step forward to prolong my career? I really lean on my team to just go about my decision making and things like that. That’s what I meant by it.
I would assume it’s been the furthest thing from a mistake since you’ve joined the Warriors.
I believe I made the right decision. Everything happens for a reason. Everything kind of unfolded for a reason. I’m just as excited to see how the story unfolds as the people watching.
You were very open and emotional describing personal loss in your life toward end of the doc. How different of a person are you after all you’ve been through over the past year?
I’m a totally different person. I appreciate things a lot more. My values are a lot more different about life. I’ve also just kind of had a realistic view on certain things in life. Basically, they’ve just intensified and went to another level, just realizing their importance in my life and my career and just going along with the journey called life. I just appreciate and value things a lot differently, or a lot more.
I know a lot of your teammates reacted to it or had something to say about the unfortunate passing of Nipsey Hussle. How hard did that hit you?
It really sucked, honestly. That’s a generational icon in my eyes. I’m pretty sure to a lot of other people, a lot of things he preaches and the message that he’s trying to deliver through his music and just his views on life are appreciated. There’s a lot of things that I agree with and I value in my own life and just when it comes to preaching about entrepreneurship and owning black businesses, keeping it in the community, everything like that—overcoming your adversities, not letting your situation or your environment determine your worth or determine your life or where you end up in life. Realizing the circumstances that he battled through and came through to become a successful black man there are a lot of similarities to my life. I feel like he was our generation’s 2Pac. I don’t even want to compare him to 2Pac because he’s his own man, but I put him on that type of pedestal with his influence and everything he brought to the culture and community and everything that comes with it. I feel like we lost an incredible human being. I don’t just look at him as a rapper. He’s more than that. We lost a father, a brother, everything that comes with it. An incredible human being.