Last summer, there was a lot of buzz around the NBA that the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings were working on a blockbuster trade involving DeMarcus Cousins. The up-and-coming center would’ve headed to Los Angeles in a trade package, but the deal never came to fruition.
Although Cousins was unable to team up with Kobe Bryant this past summer, the five-time NBA champion has made an impression on the 25-year-old throughout his NBA career. Bryant pulled Cousins aside during the All-Star weekend back in 2011 to try and straighten him out. Kobe didn’t want a young player with so much talent to ruin his career due to issues that began to become a problem in Sacramento.
Cousins recently talked about his relationship with Bryant over the years and how it has stayed strong up to this point in his NBA career via Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:
“Back then you’re still kind of in a fan mode,” Cousins said. “I’m pretty seasoned now. I’ve gained a relationship with Kobe, actually. We talked a lot this summer, actually, had some dinner with him this summer in Vegas. He’s a good, genuine dude.”
The Kings center also talked about Bryant announcing that he’ll retire after the 2015-16 NBA season. Cousins won’t miss facing him as an opponent of the basketball, but will be sad to see him walk away from the game via Jones:
“It’s crazy,” Cousins said. “I’ve been in five, six years and got a chance to play against this era’s Michael Jordan. And I also came up on Kobe so it’s going to be weird. But respect to one of the greats in this game and you hate to see him go. I mean I’m glad I don’t have to face him anymore but you hate to see him go.”
With so many hard-fought battles against the division rival Kings over the years, Bryant will likely cherish his final game in Sacramento.
Bryant will head back to Sleep Train Arena for the last time of his career on Jan. 7 with the Kings hosting the Lakers. The final two matchups against Cousins and company will take place at the Staples Center on Jan. 20 and March 15.