Six years ago, I spent a few days with DeMarcus Cousins at his home in Alabama for a piece I was working on for Sporting News. The big man from the University of Kentucky, just 21 years old at the time, had just completed his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings and was embarking on his second NBA campaign.
Despite the national narrative surrounding him – that he was a surly thug and knucklehead who would one day eat his way out of the league – I found a genuine, lovable young man who adored his family and loved the game of basketball.
He was adamant that one day, the world would come to know him, not for his momentary lapses on the court, but for the passion he brings every night and the ability that he was working to refine and harness in order to achieve greatness.
Rod Strickland, the assistant coach at Kentucky who blessed him with the nickname “Boogie” told me, “DeMarcus is still learning and hes got a long way to go. But once he gets it, its over! Hes young. Once he matures, once his game matures, hes gonna be a problem for other teams every single night. Hes already a problem, but hes gonna be a real problem once it all comes together.
Last night against the Chicago Bulls, it all came together with Cousins bringing some historical Machine Gun Funk to the NBA milieu.
DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans scored 44 points to go along with 24 rebounds and 10 assists, for a triple-double, in a double overtime win against the Chicago Bulls. Top Performers Which players owned the night? Catch up on all the top individual performances around the league in the Top Performers series.
The Pelicans’ All-Star notched an otherworldly Triple-Double, scoring 44 points, grabbing 24 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists in the Pelicans’ 132-128 double-overtime victory over the Bulls, becoming just the fifth player in NBA history to record such a game.
The last to do so was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had a 40-point, 20-rebound, 10-assist triple-double back when Bruce Lee was wrecking shop in Fist of Fury and Billy Dee Williams, playing Louis McKay in Lady Sings the Blues, uttered the classic smooth line, “You want my arm to fall off?”
That was indeed a long time ago, back in 1972, and the only other players who crushed it in similar fashion are Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Oscar Robertson.
DeMarcus Cousins tallied 44 PTS, 24 REBS & 10 ASTS in the @PelicansNBA win tonight. The last player in @NBAHistory to put up at least 40 PTS/20 REBS/10 ASTS in a game was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on 2/26/1972 (44 PTS, 20 REBS, 11 ASTS).
“You dream about moments like that as a kid — a game coming down to the line and just making big plays down the stretch,” Cousins said after the game.
He’s also dreamed of climbing to the heights of being recognized as one of the best big men to ever play the game. And judging from where’s he come from and his steady pace along the journey, the time has arrived for people to fully understand the depth of basketball brilliance that he’s now fully in possession of.
Through all of my mistakes, I know what Im capable of,” Cousins told me six years ago as we sat in his living room. “I know theres nobody in the world that can stop me. My whole thing is, I just have to put it all together. And when that happens, its gonna be a scary sight. The real highlight for me is gonna be when the world realizes it.
The Jacksons’ official music video for ‘Blame It On The Boogie’. Click to listen to The Jacksons on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/TheJacksonsSpotify?IQid=JacksonsBIO As featured on The Essential Jacksons.
That time has now arrived. You can blame it on the boogie.