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Shaq on DeMarcus Cousins’ technicals: “That’s called passion”

Aug 14, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

Houston at Sacramento Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins plays physical and he plays hard. That’s going to earn him some technicals.

The problem is when Cousins thinks the calls against him are unfair (and that happens a lot) he can’t just let it go. Either he keeps going harder and retaliates against a player or he chirps at the official (if not outright gets in their face). His reputation means he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt often, but he brings that on himself. Last season all that earned him a league-leading 16 technicals, a suspension for having more than 15, and $70,000 in fines.

Kings minority owner Shaquille O’Neal stuck up for Cousins and used another word for what is going on — passion. He likes the Cousins mean streak. That’s what he told Dime Magazine in a Q&A at Rucker Park in New York.

“I tell him, ‘be yourself and dominate.’ First of all, if you don’t put numbers up, nobody’s going to look at you. Now that people are looking at you, you have to make them respect you. Sometimes when you do crazy stuff, nobody’s going to like it. But you can’t tame that passion. I want my big man to be mean. I don’t want my big man smiling all the time, so I don’t mind. All the greatest players were angry, and they talked all the time. Charles Barkley, myself, so many others. But we also put up numbers, we were positive and did the right things in the community.

“Cousins will get technicals, he’s going to argue with the referees. That’s called passion and you never want to take a guy’s passion away. And not every guy has passion. I know, because I can give you five big guys right now who don’t have passion. I won’t tell you, but you know who they are.”

Playing a little bit angry is certainly okay, that passion just can’t overwhelm you rational judgement.

Cousins has said it before, when he feels wronged he just cannot let it go. He has to be heard, he has to react. That’s the part that he’s got to overcome (and he has improved on). It’s not how he plays the game, it’s the reaction when things don’t go his way. He doesn’t need to be Zen about it, even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t, but you have to take that frustration and channel it back into the game.

Cousins talent is unquestioned — it’s likely to earn him a spot on Team USA this summer. But if he’s going to start leading the Kings up the ladder in the West (along with Rudy Gay) they need him on the court. Not back in the locker room, or playing carefully as to avoid another technical.

  1. dohoangquan35 - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    Kevin Calabro: “WHAT A BONEHEAD PLAY!”

  2. saint1997 - Aug 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    Loving the surreptitious digs by Shaq at Dwight there about the smiling and the lack of mean streak, never misses a chance! Still I agree with what he’s saying, DMC should be an all star center in the West and lead Sac to some wins. If not, I’m predicting he’s the Wiz’s fallback target if they don’t get Durant

  3. duhwighthoward - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    There was once another player hyped up by many as one of the best big men in the league. He ran his mouth, led the league in technicals, and argued calls to no end. To most observers, he was wrong the majority of the time. But it didn’t matter. He would have an underwhelming career, never lead and never live up to his potential. He had to jump on the bandwagon of elite teams before he won championships.

    The career path for DeMarcus Cousins is well outlined. Thank you Rasheed Wallace.

    • imakcds - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      You don’t seem to understand what Shaq (and most of us) means by Big Man.
      Rasheed does not qualify in this catagory.

      • duhwighthoward - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        When you’re the biggest guy on the court, you are the Big Man.

        Plus, he was 7 feet tall. How damn big do you need to be to be a Big Man, imakcds?

      • imakcds - Aug 17, 2014 at 4:16 PM

        being the biggest guy on the court does NOT make you the Big Man, it’s about what you do on the court, how you do it, and the emotion you put into it.
        Like I said, you don’t understand.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 14, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      Rasheed Wallace had a pretty awesome career. Those Portland teams were probably the second best team along with the Kings behind the Lakers for a while. Then he went to the Pistons where he was able to push them over the top and make them the NBA Champions. He helped them back to another Finals, and even played on a Finals team in Boston. You don’t spend your whole career on great teams by accident- great teams are made up of great players, and Rasheed was a great player.

      • duhwighthoward - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:00 PM

        When he was the go to guy in Portland, boy did he come up short.

        He wasn’t even in the top half of the players on the Pistons and Celtics teams that won the championship. He just rode the coattails of Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo to name a few.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 14, 2014 at 6:01 PM

        He wasn’t even in the top half of the players on the Pistons championship team? WOW! That’s a new one.

        PS- he didn’t win a championship with the Celtics.

  4. norcaldeportes - Aug 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Dwight for sure. Who are the other 4?

  5. imakcds - Aug 14, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    For once, Shaq says something smart and relevant, and for once, I am in total agreement with Shaq.
    and who in the world DOESN’T know that Dwight Howard is on Shaq’s ‘Heartless’ List??

  6. shaggymcruff - Aug 14, 2014 at 8:57 PM

    I agree with my post

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