Kings

Mutual admiration between Cousins, Jordan: 'We’re basically two goofballs'

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USATSI

Mutual admiration between Cousins, Jordan: 'We’re basically two goofballs'

SACRAMENTO -- There is bad blood between the Kings and Clippers. There has been for multiple seasons and it’s not likely to get better anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a ton of mutual respect as well, and maybe even a few friendships behind the scenes.

DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin - they love to hate each other. It’s a war of words for 48 minutes and sometimes it’s more than that. But Cousins and big man DeAndre Jordan have developed a bond that goes beyond the jerseys on their backs.

“It’s always something, I’m kind of the mediator,” Jordan told CSN California prior to the Clippers taking shootaround at Golden 1 Center on Friday. “DeMarcus is a competitor, man. So is Chris, so is Blake, so am I. None of us wants to lose once the ball tips up.”

Paul has struggled with a hamstring injury, but returned to play in the Clippers 108-96 win over the Kings on Friday night. Griffin is out for a while with a knee injury, but his frontcourt mate is always ready for a heavy dose of the big fella.

“That’s my guy,” Jordan said. “He’s a hell of a player, I love playing against DeMarcus, I know every time it’s going to be a challenge on both ends of the floor.”

Jordan finished ahead of Cousins at the center position in voting for the All-NBA first team, pushing the Kings big man to the second team. He always looks forward to battling against another one of the best bigs in the game.

“He’s so talented, man,” Jordan said of Cousins. “He’s so talented. He’s a really good basketball player. One of the top bigs in our game. It’s always a challenge and a great time whenever we face off.”

Jordan spent time this summer playing alongside Cousins with Team USA and had nothing but glowing things to say about the two-time All-Star.

“I think he’s a really great teammate,” Jordan said. “Honestly, he’s super competitive and he loves the game of basketball. It was cool playing with him this summer.”

The feeling is mutual. Cousins and Jordan share an agent, which has helped them develop an even tighter bond. Cousins said that the two have spent time off the court together, including dinner at Jordan’s home with his family.

“He’s a fun loving guy,” Cousins told CSN California following the loss to the Clippers. “He’s a great energy to be around. He always has a positive vibe to him, you just enjoy being around people like that. I think the feeling is mutual.”

The two weren’t friends once the action started on Friday evening. Cousins tried to draw Jordan away from the basket and attempted to beat him off the dribble. He battled Jordan in the post and tried to pick up fouls on the defensive-minded big.

Cousins finished the night with 25 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals, but it was Jordan’s team that came out on top.

The Clippers star center hit the glass and patiently waited for Paul to set him up for alley-oop dunks. He finished the night with 20 points and nine rebounds in the win.

The contrast in style between the two bigs is huge, but according to Cousins, they have a lot in common off the floor.

“We’re basically two goofballs,” Cousins said. “We like to joke around, we like to have fun - me and DJ are very similar in those aspects.”

When it comes to gametime, they are ready to put their friendship aside and go to battle. While they are stylistically different, they both play a physical game.

Basically, it’s two giants pounding on each other from start to finish.

“Hell yeah, that’s a big ass dude, man,” Jordan said with a smile when asked if he’s sore after playing against Cousins. “I hope that he would say he’s sore after playing against me too.”

At the end of the day, it’s just a basketball game. There is a ton of respect between the two centers. Once the final score is posted, they have the ability to take a deep breath and get back to being friends.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to win a basketball game,” Jordan said. “After that, we’re dapping each other and having a good time talking trash and laughing. But those 48 minutes, we’re trying to win a basketball game - it’s all about the competition.”

The Clippers hold a 2-0 advantage in the season series with Sacramento. The two bigs will have to wait until March to face off again and then they’ll finish the season against one another on April 12.

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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AP

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

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AP

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.

So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.

In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”

But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.

Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.

Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.

But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.

It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .

. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.