NBA players have long memories. And Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins is certainly a guy who never forgets. In 2015, as Cousins and his monster game tried unsuccessfully to lift his Sacramento Kings to elite status, Cousins ran into a guy named Kawhi Leonard, then crushing it for the San Antonio Spurs.
When Leonard drove the lane and hammered down this dunk (below) over Cousins, Cousins got a glimpse of what championship teams and players looked like. The Spurs were then the defending NBA champs. Cousins is a very smart player who remembers all his valuable experiences. If not this one, then he has Google to remind him forever. Search “Kawhi Leonard DeMarcus Cousins” and the posterizing dunk comes up.
Cousins is an All-Star whose outsize talent is yet another recently acquired insurance policy for the talent-loaded defending champion Warriors. Like that other ultimate dynasty insurance, his teammate Kevin Durant, Cousins was not able to lift his previous team to a championship despite often being the best player on the floor.
Cousins labored for the Kings, but he went to Golden State for a shot at a title. Now he’s got it, and Cousins is expected to return from injury for the NBA Finals against Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors. Cousins will still challenge Leonard at the rim, despite those results from ages ago. That’s why he’s the player he is. Only great competitors get posterized — less than great players shrink from the challenge.