On Day 56 of our 100 Days of Hoops: two career-highs from similar personalities.
Enter Charles Barkley. Using post move after post move, some dunks and three-pointers, Barkley led the Suns past the Warriors in round one of the 1994 playoffs. The Suns swept and Barkley was glad he got some work in.
“They kind of forced the issue by not doubling me,” Barkley said. “I hope it’s not the last time I see single coverage I kind of like it. It was a good workout.”
Barkley was as fiery on the court as he was off it and is the first to tell you, he shouldn’t be considered a role model. It sparked a national debate across the United States about what makes a role model and Barkley’s main message was how teachers and parents should always be role models instead of athletes. Hard to argue against the athlete in a situation like this.
Another player who often plays inside-out with a heated passion for the game is DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins also scored 56 points as his career high in a game against the Charlotte Hornets.
DeMarcus Cousins strives to act as a positive role model, even going as far as admitting he is a role model coming from a different kind of place.
“I come from a place where there are not a lot of opportunities. People there, they don’t ever really dream big because they don’t think it ever really exists,” Cousins said. “Like the things you see on TV, they think it’s just a false world. And them seeing me make it, they believe it is possible.”
On the court, even on the bench, Cousins is hot-tempered. Off of it, he’s intelligent and philanthropic Hosting panel discussions about police brutality, donating millions of dollars to schools and charities and hasn’t seen legal trouble unlike what people believe. Cousins is open about how he always had to get things done the hard way and it seems he has to convince many NBA fans that he’s stable. For those same NBA fans who rag on Cousins for his on-court behavior, their attitude towards him is unlikely to sway and maybe winning will solve everything if he finds success.
And for those NBA fans, what they see of Cousins isn’t what he is. After all, he played for the Kings when the tagline was “incompetence and uncertainty”. Cousins always sailed the ship even if it meant public backlash. Sometimes though, he’ll put it on himself but DeMarcus is at the point where he’s solely searching stability.
The main difference between Barkley and Cousins include Barkley getting drafted by a contending team and Cousins’ teams never sniffing the playoffs and what each believes makes a positive role model. Both wreak havoc on the court while one tries to distance himself from the role model spectrum and the other embraces it.