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The Big Lesson DeMarcus Cousins Learned From Tearing His Achilles


DeMarcus Cousins learned the brutal reality of being a star player in the NBA and how that dream status can soon come crashing down at the snap of a finger. Cousins tore his left Achilles tendon on Jan. 31, 2018 and he hasn’t been the same since.

His injury cost him a potentially long-term contract with the New Orleans Pelicans, who had traded up to get him only a season before. He signed a one-year, $5.3 million bargain deal with the Golden State Warriors for the mid-level exception but failed to return to be the dominant big man he’d been in his last few years.

“It makes you realize that it can be gone with the snap of a finger,” Cousins, who is now an NBA free agent after being waived by the Los Angeles Lakers in February, told ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “We get so content with our jobs and our careers, and we just feel like it’s an everlasting thing, but the reality of it is that it’s really a short period of time in our lives.”

Couple that with a partially-torn quad in the 2018-19 playoffs and it couldn’t get any worse for the big man… until it did.

Cousins tore his ACL during the offseason after taking part in an open run this past summer, effectively ending his 2019-20 season well before it started after signing with the Lakers.

The big man has seen what injuries have done to players like Derrick Rose, who enjoyed a meteoric rise as the No. 1 pick in 2008, only to see it crumble with a wave of maladies after crucial ACL and meniscus injuries.

He’s served as a sounding board for others who have sustained similar injuries like former teammate Kevin Durant and Portland Trail Blazers marksman Rodney Hood, who recently suffered the injury on Dec. 9, 2019, and has gone back to finish his degree at Duke since his season ended.

“We’ve got a lot of life and a lot of living to do once our careers are over,” said Cousins. “So I think it’s a great approach that he took going through this moment.”

Cousins is up for grabs as a free agent once the NBA season resumes, but chances are his real shot will be in the offseason if he can show he’s fully healed from the wave of misfortunes that have plagued him recently.