Is it too late to save DeMarcus Cousins from himself?

The infamous temper of DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins does not seem to be cooling down as his experience increases in the NBA. In fact, Boogie recently proved he can still go from zero to 100 as quickly as he always has.

Entering his sixth year in the league with the Sacramento Kings, the 6’11 All-Star center is best known for his immaculate defending abilities and powerful dunks. He has also become to be known by the on-the-court controversy that seems to follow him season after season, where his quasi-legendary temper continuously gets the best of him.

From the well-known clashing of personalities between him and former Kings’ head coach George Karl to becoming a league leader in technical fouls, conflict is as much a part of his game as his defending skills. Having accumulated over 90 technical fouls throughout his career, 17 alone from last season, Cousins showed in the recent October 29th game against the Minnesota Timberwolves that he has not quite outgrown his notorious temper.

After receiving his sixth foul and fouling out against the Timberwolves, Cousins stormed off the court and into the stands where several fans were sitting and threw his mouthpiece down to the floor. Earlier in the game, Cousins receive a technical foul, adding to his impressive collection. He was later fined $25,000 by the NBA for his heated escapades that night. Days later, Cousins fouled out once again, receiving all 6 fouls in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat. It goes unsaid that such continued actions could really begin to devalue his presence.

Unfortunately, his impulsive and angry behavior is not looking like a phase many predicted. This kind of behavior by Cousins reaches all the way back to his very first season with the Kings, who took him fifth overall in the 2010 draft. In 2011, he was not allowed to board the team plane after a verbal blowup with then teammate Donte Greene after a game one night. In 2012, Cousins was suspended for a heated argument during a game with the then Kings’ head coach Keith Smart. In 2015, Cousins had to be held back by teammates and led off the court in a game against the Golden State Warriors for yelling at the referees after an unfavorable call.

Even after coming off an outstanding summer at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio and taking home gold, where he showed an impressive amount of maturity, not much has seemed to change. Now that the regular season is here, Cousins has fallen back into his old habits, habits that will undoubtedly bring more trouble than reward if they are not corrected. Although once able to contribute the damaging behavior to youth and inexperience, the 26-year old has had several years in the league to make mistakes and more importantly learn from them.

Today, he is drawing comparisons with other professional athletes like the Dallas Cowboys’ Terrell Owens, the Chicago Bulls’ Dennis Rodman, and the Cleveland Browns’ Johnny Manziel who all became known more for the problems rather than the productivity they brought their teams. Fortunately for Cousins, he has not totally ruined his reputation and has proven that in addition to keeping his fouling numbers high, he can produce in other stats as well.

Averaging well over 20 points a game and despite his history, Cousins is still a respected leader on his team. Hopefully he’ll begin to learn from his errors and turn things around, lest he end up a punchline like Dennis Rodman or T.O.