The notoriety that comes with DeMarcus Cousins’ name pretty much stems from his tumultuous tenure with the Sacramento Kings from 2010 to 2017. His former head coach George Karl can attest to this.
The 6-foot-10 Kentucky product did establish himself as one of the best bigs in the league at the time, but he also developed a bad reputation for his temperamental outbursts both on and off the court.
Karl, along with his former deputy Vance Walberg, recently opened up about Cousins’ reign of terror in SacTown during the disaster that was the 2015-16 season. In an appearance on the Truth + Basketball podcast, the pair recalled how tensions between Karl and Cousins were already high after the former told the media that no player was untradeable.
This was also around the time when the then Kings All-Star tweeted the “Snake in the Grass” emojis, which was clearly a direct shot at the celebrated tactician.
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) June 23, 2015
Walberg recalled the heated atmosphere surrounding the team following a humiliating 106-88 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in November 2015.
“As soon as [Karl] walks in DeMarcus just goes off, I mean, off,” Walberg explained, per NBC Sports. “Coach hasn’t even said a word and it’s ‘F you coach, you think you’re an F-ing Hall of Fame coach, all the hell you care about is your wins, you don’t give a s–t about us.’
“It was probably the rudest, the worst I’ve ever seen of any game in my life, what happened in that locker room after we played San Antonio that night.”
Despite being the target of a torrent of obscenities from Boogie, Karl kept his cool and did not engage with the enraged Kings center at the time.
“DeMarcus and I had a confrontation after the game and we meet the next morning and we have a long serious talk that we can turn this into a win,” George Karl recalled. “Because we’ve got to suspend DeMarcus and whatever it is, for two or three games, and maybe he’ll wake up that he can’t be the boss. We went in and fought very hard that we had to suspend him.”
DeMarcus Cousins offered a public apology shortly after, but it’s clear that his relationship with Karl was beyond saving. The disgruntled four-time All-Star was eventually shipped to the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2017-18 season.
Karl, on the other hand, was fired by the Kings after just one year where he led the team to 33–49 record.