Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins went down with a quad injury in their opening round playoff series this spring — his second major injury in just more than a year.
Once he went down in Game 2 of their opening series against the Los Angeles Clippers — an injury that the Warriors thought would sideline him for the rest of the year — Cousins was ready to call it.
“I was just ready to quit,” Cousins said on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Wednesday ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals. “Like, throw the towel in. … Human nature is the first thing. It’s like, ‘Why? Why me? Why now? What did I do wrong? Why do I deserve this?’”
It’s easy to understand why he would want to call it quits.
Cousins, who tore his Achilles in February 2018, didn’t even make his debut with the Warriors until January. Going through another rehab — especially in the midst of a postseason run — wasn’t appealing.
Cousins, though, pushed through.
The 28-year-old made his return in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, though played just eight minutes off the bench and scored three points off a pair of free-throw attempts. While he wasn’t his usual, productive self in the opening game, Cousins looked close to normal in Game 2.
Back in the starting lineup, Cousins finished with a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, playing 27 minutes in the Warriors’ critical 109-104 win in Toronto, which evened the series 1-1.
Getting back to that place, however, took a lot.
“I would be lying to say I didn’t really have to [fight to get back so soon],” Cousins said, via ESPN. “Like, I had to dig deep. I had to do some soul-searching and, you know, throughout both injuries, it was times where I just — you know, like, ‘Forget it.’ Like, I’ll just take my time with it and whatever happens, happens. And f—, I just couldn’t go out that way.”
Now that he’s back after a tumultuous, injury-filled 18 months, Cousins isn’t letting any time go to waste.
He knows how quickly things can go south in the NBA — and he wants to take full advantage of whatever time he has left.
“I know the feeling of like, you know, this might be it. You know?” Cousins said, via ESPN. “So every chance I get to be on the floor, I’m gonna leave it on the floor. Because, you know, this is a game I’ve played my entire life and I’ve grown to love since I was a kid.
“And, you know, as much as I loved it then, I love it now. And I know how fast it can be taken away. It can be gone with the snap of a finger.”
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