While most of the Sacramento Kings players have bolted for places where the sun is hot and the sand is plentiful, DeMarcus Cousins is braving near-arctic temperatures in Toronto for All-Star weekend.
The Kings star will take part in Sunday’s All-Star game, but he was also added to the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during Saturday night’s festivities. It’s a fun event with a new twist this season. The NBA pitted bigs against littles in an elimination-style bracket.
Cousins came out sideways in round one, losing the dribble before entering the first leg of the competition. He recovered to bounce New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis by knocking in the 3-ball on his second attempt.
In round two, Cousins faced off with rookie Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns hit the chest pass portion on the first try, while Cousins took three attempts. The 20-year-old hit his 3-pointer on the other end before Cousins could even cross half court.
[RELATED: Towns takes out Green, Cousins on way to Skills Challenge win]
Towns went on to best former Kings guard Isaiah Thomas in the finals in a shocking upset. Cousins and the other bigs mobbed the Timberwolves center at halfcourt in celebration.
"We just made a statement," Cousins said following the competition. "Stop disrespecting the bigs."
COUSINS HANDLES THE MEDIA LIKE A PRO
There’s nowhere to hide at an event like the All-Star game. Cousins has been rushed from one spot to the next, signing autographs, kissing babies and smiling until his cheeks hurt.
The 25-year-old big man has also hopped from one interview to the next answering the same questions again and again. Everyone has waited for him to slip up and throw George Karl under the bus, but he’s handled his business like a complete pro.
“That’s my coach and that’s who I play for,” Cousins told NBA.com’s David Aldridge. “I’m going to be coachable in this situation. There isn’t an issue, that’s who I play for.”
When pressed further by Aldridge, Cousins toed the line well.
“I’m tired of it. Stop trying to make a story out of it, we’re fine,” Cousins responded. “Our only goal this season is to make the playoffs. That’s it. All the other stuff, just stop, it’s not necessary.”
When asked about the Sacramento’s front office and how they are holding up through the chaos of last week, Cousins was again complimentary of Vlade Divac and the Kings’ brass.
“I have a lot of faith in Vlade Divac and the guys in the front office,” Cousins told SiriusXM radio. “I’m positive things are going to come to brighter days. We’re in a rough patch, but I think we’ll be fine.”
Cousins left the drama at home. The break is exactly what he and his teammates need before racing through the final 29 games of the season. Cousins even gave his NBA city a little love.
“I love Sacramento. I think it’s one of the best cities in the NBA,” Cousins told SiriusXM.
Cousins and his teammates return later this week to face Michael Malone and his Denver Nuggets at Sleep Train on Friday evening.