Candlelight vigil for Stephon Clark ends in police standoff
Former Sacramento Kings players DeMarcus Cousins and Matt Barnes have reached out to the family of Stephon Clark to cover the cost of the funeral, sources told The Bee.
Clark, 22, was shot and killed by Sacramento police on Sunday while holding a cellphone in his grandmother's backyard. The death of Clark, who was unarmed and African American, sparked protests Thursday.
Clark's family set up a GoFundMe page on Monday to raise money for funeral expenses and burial costs with a $50,000 goal. It had raised over $64,000 as of 7:30 p.m. Friday
Demonstrators blocked the doors for Thursday's Kings game against the Atlanta Hawks, bringing the national sports community's attention to Clark's story. As tipoff time approached, the Kings began denying ticketholders access to the arena for safety reasons.
The start of the game was delayed about 20 minutes, and it was played with a sparse crowd of about 2,000 fans in the lower bowl.
Cousins, an All-Star center who spent the first six years of his NBA career in Sacramento, was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans last season. Barnes, a former area prep star at Del Campo High School, was waived by the Kings after Cousins was traded. He announced his retirement from the NBA this season.
Barnes posted a picture of Clark with his daughter to his Instagram page on Wednesday, offering his condolences and asking anyone who knew the family to contact him.
"Another pointless killing," Barnes posted. "This time in my hometown of Sacramento. Who's gonna be next..? Your brother, son, uncle, dad ...?"
Cousins has a history of outreach in the Sacramento community.
He paid for the funeral of Grant High School football player Jaulon "JJ" Clavo, who was shot before a playoff game in 2015. He held free basketball camps at Sacramento High School and bought a new scoreboard for the school's basketball gym.
Cousins was a regular at high school games and enjoyed being accessible to students, especially at inner-city schools that high-profile athletes might not want to visit.
Cousins participated in forums with police in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., and in Sacramento, and has spoken candidly about the issues and concerns from both sides.
The NBA recognized Cousins' work away from the court last October, awarding him the inaugural Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his work in Alabama, New Orleans, Sacramento and South Africa.
When Cousins was traded to New Orleans last February, he said he would always consider Sacramento home and that his ties to the community would remain.
Cousins is out for the season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon in January.
Barnes has said he plans to get more involved in the community and work with the youth in his retirement.