Saturday, July 17, 2010

Remember Cousins is 19 - there is a process

Kings fans are crazy.

That seems to be a statement out of the blue. It is not.

After covering this team daily for about 13 or 14 years for the Sacramento Bee newspaper through the worst and the best of times, I thought I knew how crazy Kings fans were.

However, I didn't.

Actually, I didn't even have a clue.

And since I've come to recognize a truer level of insanity that drives Kings fans, it's important to continue to bring doses of reality to those who follow this squad.

That's where Friday evening's Vegas Summer League performance by DeMarcus Cousins becomes applicable.

I know Kings fans come in all sizes and ages. Over the years, I've met Kings fans in many places.

Supermarkets, schools, churches (and I rarely, I mean, rarely attend) and liquor stores in other states. I've met you guys and ladies on planes and answering the door at my house.

I've met Kings fans on Maui and in Tokyo. So I thought I had a decent fix on Kings fans. Wednesday, I found out differently.

Recently, I've become aware of websites called and They are virtual hangout for Kings fans to chat, inform and become informed for many things Kings.

I used to receive goo-gobs of e-mails at the Bee when covering the Kings and I tried to reply to as many as I could.

In addition to merely replying because folks had cared enough to take the time to get with me, I found reading the e-mails provided story ideas of which I'd never have imagined.

So, Wednesday, I ended up on Sactown Royalty after Wednesday's Kings summer-league game. Beyond my amazement, it seems as if more than 1,000 comments came into the site during the game.

One thousand comments during a freaking summer-league game as the fever of Kings fans about Cousins and Hasaan Whiteside and Tyreke Evans intensifies daily. Incredible!

I'm unsure how one can fully concentrate on watching a basketball game on TV and chat online, but clearly it can be done.

But back to the matter of The Big Potential; aka the Big Po'; aka the Big Sweetness - Cousins had set the Vegas Summer League on its butt during Sacramento's first three games.

Cousins' assortment of skills and talents are ridiculous. He's got tremendous court vision; varied passing deliveries; a feathery soft shooting touch and deft footwork. Combine that big booty and those broad shoulders with huge, strong hands and Cousins, who turns 20 August 13, often makes this NBA stuff appear so easy.

Yet, what Cousins doesn't have - experience - is a process that cannot be accelerated. Neither Bill Russell nor Wilt Chamberlain could accelerate it. That goes for Nate Thurmond, Willis Reed and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

So Friday evening's zero-for-10 first half against the Toronto Raptors was part of the process. It was a lesson in humility that came precisely at the necessary time for Cousins and his new legion of followers.

Cousins probably had a little bit of the big-head syndrome after his early domination of the VSL and needed a little bit of a reality check.

To me, it's akin to understanding, in part, why LeBron James keeps the big head. With more than half the world jocking his mercurial talents, it would be more surprising if he didn't believe all the hype that has come his way.

Cousins struggled against Toronto and he'll struggle again and again. That's what sports and life are about.

We all have bad days. Some of us have bad weeks, months and years, but it's our abilities to shake off those struggles that test our resolve.

Cousins took a major - and necessary - step in the second half against Toronto when he went five for eight.

Moreover, he got his first professional triple-double - points, rebounds and fouls.

One more point. Trainer David Thorpe recently was critical of Cousins' willingness to respond verbally to opponents conversations.

I don't know where Thorpe grew up hooping, but talking and handling talking is part of the game. I wonder if Thorpe was critical of Boston great Larry Bird responding to verbiage that came his way.

Some people talk trash while playing the game. Some don't. People use various ways to deal with it, but part of the process is learning which method is most effective. Cousins must learn which is best for him.

Kings fans, enjoy the process. Preliminary indications are it will be special.


  1. I doubt Thorpe or anybody care about talking a little trash as part of the game. It's when it comes close to Cousins getting tossed for tussling or other stuff that distracts from winning. Jordan, Bird, lots of greats talked tons, and it didn't seem to hurt em. Personally, I love his fire, I just hope his focus can be maintained and he doesn't get distracted.

  2. I believe our insanity comes from our desire to have a great team again and have Sacramento associated with greatness on a national level. We love our city and want the world to know. Being the punchline in many a joke just seems a little easier to swallow when we can point at that big building in Natomas and say, "But we have the Kings, who kicked your ass."

  3. I certainly have been impressed by the intensity, both from the fans and Cousins. I understand the loyalty and the pride in your city and team. Hey, I'm still a Mets fan, for goodness sakes. LOL and they certainly have tested me, as the Kings have tested you. David, I'd disagree with you, though, with regards to Cousins' talking. Some folks can't understand that. I guess they want non-verbal intensity, but it's different strokes for different personalities... And you are right, it's about maintaining focus while you talk, if you have to do it. We'll have to see if Cousins can maintain his as time moves on. And people have to realize how young he is.

  4. Hey where is my comment????It was posted July 18. Now it has disappeared.