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Looking past DeMarcus Cousins’ scowl: What the Warriors will learn about the ‘Big Kid’

Center DeMarcus Cousins, still rehabbing an Achilles’ injury as he watches games on the bench for the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors, got a chuckle Sunday night in Denver as he heard - loud and clear - from a nearby fan who said Cousins has “ruined the NBA.”
Center DeMarcus Cousins, still rehabbing an Achilles’ injury as he watches games on the bench for the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors, got a chuckle Sunday night in Denver as he heard - loud and clear - from a nearby fan who said Cousins has “ruined the NBA.” hamezcua@sacbee.com

DeMarcus Cousins is back in Northern California with the Golden State Warriors, having pitched the NBA champions on a one-year deal to prove he'll be an asset once 100 percent.

Within minutes of the news breaking Monday, my phone began to ring with friends and colleagues wanting to know what to expect from the four-time All-Star who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.

It was also a reminder I'll be forever connected to Cousins, whom I refer to as the "Big Kid," after covering him for nearly seven years in Sacramento, through his ups and downs and even a hot yoga class. On the road, a lot of media looked to me to break the ice for interviews. They heard the big man was unapproachable.

So in lieu of returning every message from the Bay Area and beyond, here are answers to some of your questions about life with Cousins.

Opinion

Cousins is sick of losing, so he's out to prove he can be part of a winner.

He reached out to the Warriors for a reason. Cousins has experienced only one winning season in the NBA, and that was cut short when he was injured in January. He missed his chance to play in the playoffs with New Orleans.

Some are skeptical about whether he'll fit with the Warriors' star-studded lineup. For a blueprint as to why he won't be a problem, look at his time with Team USA. Cousins wasn't the focal point, but because the team was winning, he fell in line and won a gold medal.

The Warriors are pretty much an Olympic or All-Star team, and the culture is similar to the one Cousins thrived in with the national squad.

And given he's on a one-year, $5.3 million deal, if there are any problems, the Warriors could simply cut him. That's not something Cousins wants.

Cousins can be moody, but he will be fair. I've been on the good and bad side with Cousins, but from Day One, I kept it real with him. Anyone who does that will get along fine with Cousins, even after disagreements.

Cousins can sniff out fake people pretty quickly. So if someone tries to run game on him, it won't work.

Cousins cares what you think about him. Perhaps he cares to a fault. He won't like it if someone who doesn't know him judges his character or his past issues with coaches and teammates.

Cousins values establishing trust and loyalty. Break that, and it's hard to get it back.

Cousins is funny. He has a great sense of humor. The Warriors have a fun locker room, and Cousins will fit in just fine with that.

He hasn't always been the easiest to get along with in the locker room, but there will not be the same distractions and dysfunction that defined his time in Sacramento.

Don't be surprised to see Cousins at a football game. He grew up a big Raiders fan (he actually wanted to be a football player before he grew to the height of an NBA player).

Cousins also loves high school football and supporting schools in the inner city. Maybe he'll show up at an Oakland Athletic League football game this fall.

The Warriors have one of the most talented big men in the NBA on the way. No one knows exactly what to expect or when to expect it, given the severity of the injury.

Just know this: Cousins is a big softie. Don't let the scowl fool you. The Big Kid has feelings, too.

Post-game, DeMarcus Cousins reflects on first time he had faced the Kings since they traded him to the Pelicans. New Orleans thumped the Kings 117-89.

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