Here’s a unpleasant thought: DeMarcus Cousins on the U.S. Olympic basketball team.
I know it’s crazy to think that anyone would tout the Sacramento Kings center as a candidate to represent the United States on the world stage, but Bee sports columnist Ailene Voisin was doing just that this week.
“While USAB officials live in fear of an international incident, I have covered most of the Summer Games since 1992, and I would have no problems putting Cousins on the Olympic team,” Voisin said in a blog, expanding on her column in which the 6-foot-10 Cousins expressed his desire to play for the U.S. team.
Why might the idea of Cousins and an international incident be mentioned in the same sentence? Because the 21-year-old is a loose cannon who views his boorish behavior as part of his birthright. He has been suspended for fighting with a teammate, fined for arguing with a Kings strength and conditioning coach, and rewarded for being a malcontent with the axing of coach Paul Westphal early this past season.
He racked up 13 technical fouls this season, which would have led to a one-game suspension if one of the fouls hadn’t been rescinded. Technical fouls are given for loutish behavior on the court and are another sign of Cousins’ inability to control his emotions. Asked why he had been assessed a technical in a game last month, Cousins responded:
“I wasn’t trying to get a tech, but that’s part of being DeMarcus Cousins.”
Ah yes, the burden of being DeMarcus Cousins, a gifted athlete who had been indulged and pampered by his enablers since junior high so that even as a second-year pro he doesn’t bother to get into top shape. Replacement coach Keith Smart felt the need to publicly scold Cousins for his lack of conditioning.
Asked why so many questions were raised about his emotional maturity and temper during the 2010 NBA draft, Cousins said: “I have no clue.”
Voisin takes a benign view of Cousins’ toxic temperament. In her oft-expressed view, he’s just an immature kid who will grow into a fine human being and superstar.
“Those of us who spend a lot of time with him here in Sacramento agree with his mother, Monique — her son is a big teddy bear, a ferocious competitor, with a tremendous sense of humor and instincts for the game,” Voisin wrote in her blog.
I don’t know whether Cousins has a sense of humor hiding behind his pouting, grimacing game face, but I know it’s a joke to consider him for a team that represents the United States. The last thing this country needs is another athlete reinforcing the “ugly American” stereotype on the world biggest athletic stage.