Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Cousins has suffered three major injuries in two years. He’s put himself in position to win championships, but bad luck keeps holding him back.
DeMarcus Cousins signing a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in July made perfect sense. The 29-year-old was more than a year removed from tearing his Achilles and months into the healing process for a torn quad suffered in April. His offers weren’t going to be lucrative, but in L.A. he was guaranteed two other important things: playing time and a chance to title hunt with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The same things rung true in Golden State, but Cousins didn’t get his wish. He and the mega-superteam of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala were supposed to win a title — handily. Then a barrage of season-ending injuries late in the playoffs wiped away destiny.
With the most prestigious franchise in the sport, though, Cousins was supposed to earn what he’s worked his entire life for: an NBA championship. Gone were the days of signing a life-changing nine-figure contract. That was lost back in New Orleans on a hustle play that changed his career — and his body — forever. The possibility he’d recover at least some of those losses took a jab in the chest after his quad injury. But at the least, the very dang least, Boogie Cousins was going to be in the running again to become an NBA champion and lauded as one of the game’s best, even if he couldn’t be the team’s best.
That won’t happen in 2020 and it may never happen now. There is no consolation for Cousins’ crap luck. The past two years have gone incredibly wrong for one of the world’s best bigs, and a probable torn ACL suffered in Las Vegas while training for the upcoming season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, is the latest dagger to take down the seven-foot star’s career.
There’s no other emotion to feel at this point other than sadness. Fans have watched the nine-year veteran change his polarizing image from the man who yelled at media for writing a bad column to one of grit and persistence in battling back from major injuries to compete in the NBA Finals. Sure, Cousins lost a lot of money — but he stayed in the game to win, signing a mid-level exception contract one-fifth the size of a per-year deal he was expecting, in Golden State. Then he took an even smaller veteran’s minimum to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That was admirable in the public eye.
DeMarcus Cousins’ consolation prize was supposed to come in the form of physical validation — hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy next to Steph Curry, winner of the last three of four, and then winning one next to James to go in the history books. Instead, he’ll once again think of what could’ve been.
One of the most miserable parts of Cousins’ continuous bad luck is just how well he was playing despite the odds and injuries suffered. He wasn’t perfect, but came back just six weeks after tearing his quad to play in the Finals against the Toronto Raptors. In the final two games of the series, on the brink of elimination, he scored 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting with 11 rebounds and two blocks combined. There were still remnants of a really talented player. A whole offseason of rest could’ve been his — and the Lakers’ — greatest gift.
Now, even if L.A. cuts down the nets in June, it won’t be Boogie’s championship unless he’s miraculously back on the floor. He won’t get to reap the slim benefit of his athletic misfortune, and that sucks. There’s supposed to be solace in all of this. Instead we’re given another brutal reminder that in sports, silver linings are never guaranteed.
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