Sacramento Kings center, DeMarcus Cousins has been in Las Vegas practicing on the Select Team hoping for a spot on the 2012 Olympic Team. Not only were his hopes dashed to make the team, but despite his best efforts, he heard that dreaded word used to describe him so many times before.
It has been attached to him even before he was drafted to the Sacramento Kings. It seems no matter what he does, how hard he tries, how good his production, that word seems affixed to him like superglue.
As reported by Ailene Voison, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo characterized him (Cousins) as “immature” in a teleconference with reporters on Saturday. Cousins reportedly approached him for clarification, but he wasn’t given specifics by Colangelo. While we may not have the whole story, if you are going to describe a player as “immature” then be prepared to back up your statement with some specifics. Just an opinion, here.
DeMarcus Cousins is a 21-year-old, 6’11” player from Mobile, Alabama. In his two years as an NBA player he is considered among the top 10 players in his position in the NBA today.
Cousins may have been a victim of preconception, due to a perceptual set, a concept borrowed from psychology. In a sense one sees what one expects to see. If you expect immaturity then you will interpret what you see in that vein. It is a bias, often done without being conscious of doing it.
Cousins reportedly fouled a lot and threw some elbows to other players in his first day scrimmages. The other players laughed it off, but apparently the officials and coaches were not impressed. It might be easy to see this as immaturity, but had this been a different player, would one be so quick to draw that conclusion. It may also have been a young man trying very hard on his first day to impress everyone with his toughness.
It is certainly understandable for Cousins to be upset about the use of this word to describe him. He has been dogging it and has answered innumerable questions about it for years. It gets a bit old when people talk more about his “immaturity” than his actual play and skills as an NBA player.
This isn’t just a problem for Cousins. This is a problem for anyone with a label attached to them. No matter how hard they work to overcome the label or prove others wrong, there are always going to be those who dig back to one’s past and continue to see and judge someone through it.
Earlier this evening, I saw the interview of Cousins on News10 by Brian May in Las Vegas. Cousins honestly describes his feelings to the words that were used to describe him. The look of hurt and disappointment on this young man’s face was heartbreaking. Although this is another growing experience for him, one has to wonder just how many more times he is going to be judged by this label.