Sometimes, Christmas comes early. Sometimes, your favorite basketball player decides to be an R&B singer and your favorite up-and-coming rapper lends him a hand. Sometimes, all of your wildest dreams come true.
Yesterday, in the biggest news in the history of mankind, Demarcus Cousins, under the name Boogie Smooth, announced that he will not only be releasing a single with Chance the Rapper called “Emotional,” but a whole album named Misunderstood. Look further, and we see that there will be a bonus track, “Big Fellas,” featuring Rick Ross. It’s as if Demarcus has been reading my dream journal and decided to make it reality. Unfortunately, the album was an early April Fool’s joke, and I feel like Jesus when he saw Judas coming up the hill with those Roman soldiers. Betrayed.
There is a long history of NBA players, flush with cash, deciding to create their own record labels. We have Shaq (“Strait Playin'” is mandatory viewing material), Ron Artest (“Champion” is lodged deep into the subconscious of anyone who has played 2k11), Chris Webber (performing an poor man’s Biggie impression on “Gangsta Gangsta”), and many many more. Every NBA player’s foray into music making usually goes about as well as when rappers play in the All-Star Celebrity Game. Some are better than others, but none are good enough to do so for a living, but regardless of skill, it’s damn good time for everyone watching.
I like to imagine that Boogie Smooth’s first effort would have been an opportunity to showcase his more sensitive side. On the cover, Demarcus leans on his luxury coupe in front of his palatial mansion, but strikes a face that hints at a complex, emotional core beneath his considerable frame. I imagine the seven footer crooning in a sweet southern style fostered by his Alabama roots as the haters struggle to deride Boogie as immature when he unravels the mysteries of love with his mastery of the sonic world. As the title of the album suggests, we could have finally understand the enigma that is Demarcus Cousins.
Back when the Kings drafted Demarcus, I boarded the Boogie Express and it has not been the most crowded train of late. But it is a train that I stayed on, and that has made all the difference. Sure, there were plenty of times to get off: his myriad of technical fouls, his punch of Patrick Beverly, his yelling at Sean Elliot, his insistence on bringing the ball up the floor even when there are guards open, his pouting sessions on defense, his complaints to the officials as his man runs down the floor for an easy two, and his feuds with a large portion of the professional basketball playing community.
But even with all the reasons to hate Demarcus, there are a million more to love him. He gives a damn. He’s an emotional, fascinating player in a league filled with corporate poster boys who repeat the same cliches ad nauseum to avoid controversy. He can dominate games. He takes pleasure in bullying players many consider to be his superiors, ask Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin. He can hit the midrange jumper. He can take the ball coast to coast and throw down nasty dunks. He can be funny. He is the heir to Rasheed Wallace “Talented but Insane Big Man that Everyone Loves” throne.
But most of all, he’s the best player that Sacramento has seen since Chris Webber. In fact, he may be better. He’s Sacramento’s best chance to have a meaningful playoff run in the foreseeable future. The Kings will soar into relevancy or crumble into dysfunction dependent upon how Boogie’s broad shoulders carry them.
This year, the Kings will finish with one of the worst records in the West, and remain in a perpetual state of disappointment, but I’m not mad. I’m not mad because I’m riding the Boogie Express, and even though it has stopped in undesirable places, I see a brighter future ahead. I see a future where Demarcus has a decent supporting cast and leads the Kings deep in the playoffs with monster performance after monster performance. I see a future where Big Cuz is a regular at the All-Star game and enters the MVP conversation from time to time. I see a future where number 15 gets raised up to the rafters, and a paunchy, grizzled Demarcus fights tears as the Sacramento faithful rises to their feet to salute their savior from the cellar.
All aboard the Boogie Express, where the ride is rough, but the music is smooth.