Former Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins has had a rough go of it over the last 17 months or so. After tearing his Achilles in January of 2018, Cousins spent the next 12 months rehabbing before making a highly-anticipated return in January of the following year with the Golden State Warriors.
Immediately after his return against the Los Angeles Clippers on January 18, the former Wildcat said it was “one of the best days of his life.”
“I felt like a kid on Christmas,” Cousins told reporters at the time. “It’s been a long journey … this was probably one of the best days of my life. Just being out there on the floor again, playing the game that I love.”
Just three months later, the injury bug unfortunately got the best of Cousins yet again, as the 7-foot big man tore his left quad in the first round of the NBA Playoffs on April 15.
Right after working his way back from one of the most devastating injuries a big man can suffer, it all came crumbling down yet again.
In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, the former Wildcat said that after his most recent injury, he was actually ready to quit the game of basketball completely.
“I was just ready to quit. Like, throw the towel in,” he said. “Human nature just makes you ask “why?” You know? “Why me? Why now? Why do I deserve this?”
At the time of the torn left quad, most assumed the Warrior center’s season was over. And then just 45 days later, Cousins worked his way back to the point where he was ready to take the floor in the NBA Finals.
“The physical part wasn’t the hard part,” Cousins said of his second injury and the rehab that followed. “It was everything mental that comes with it.”
How did the four-time NBA All-Star beat the odds both physically and mentally to make such a quick comeback possible? Using past motivation to fuel him for the future.
“I have been doubted my whole life,” he said. “I made it a mission to prove those people wrong and I am going to continue to do that.”
Check out the entire interview:
In his return to action, Cousins’ play has been quite up and down, as expected.
In Game 1, the former Wildcat played just eight minutes, finishing with three points, two assists, and two steals. He then followed it up with a massive double-double in Game 2, managing 11 points, ten rebounds, and six assists to help tie the series. His play dipped again in Game 3 with four points, three rebounds, and two assists in a loss, but he still got 19 minutes of action.
It’s going to be a while before we see Cousins back to his normal self physically, but the fact that he has fought back to get himself right mentally is impressive in itself.
Keep on fighting, Boogie.
KSR’s Hayden Hooper also contributed to this post