As the saying goes: Life comes at you fast.
And that couldn’t ring truer than for a player like DeMarcus Cousins, who, as recently as 2017-18, was an All-Star for the New Orleans Pelicans being paid $18.1 million for his services that season.
At that point, Cousins was considered arguably the best big man in the basketball – if not the best, then certainly in the Top 3 – putting up over 25 points, nearly 13 rebounds and more than five assists per night, astronomical numbers for an individual player.
Now, Cousins was most recently forced to sign a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. Cousins, an All-Star just three seasons ago and an All-NBA 2nd Teamer five seasons ago, can’t even get a standard contract right now without having to prove his worth first.
That insanely fast turnaround for Cousins is actually historic, as it makes the 30-year-old big man the fastest player to go from being an All-Star to signing a 10-day contract in NBA history, according to our research.
Of course, there are blatant reasons why Cousins’ fall from grace has been so swift and brutal.
Since that last All-Star appearance, Cousins has had a well-documented string of major injuries, including a torn Achilles and a torn ACL, two of the very worst injuries an athlete can suffer – and Cousins went through both within a two-year span.
Obviously, those ailments have sapped Cousins of a good amount of the otherworldy athleticism he once possessed at his size, and odds are, he’ll never return to the pre-injury form he once had.
Nevertheless, Cousins isn’t the only NBA player with a shockingly fast turnaround from an All-Star nomination to having to sign a 10-day contract.
Phil Chenier, a three-time All-Star in the 1970s as a member of the Washington Bullets, went from playing in the February 13, 1977 All-Star Game to signing a 10-day contract on January 21, 1981, a 1438-day turnaround caused by back problems Chenier went through that he could never truly bounce back from.
Even more recently than that, Isaiah Thomas played in the 2017 All-Star Game on February 19, 2017, and had to sign a 10-day contract 1,504 days later on April 3, 2021, with the New Orleans Pelicans, one that, like Cousins’, is still active at this moment.
That’s why it was so good to see both Cousins and Thomas perform well in their first games with their new teams this past week, as it’s impossible not to feel for those guys going from being NBA superstars one day to barely hanging around the Association the next, especially since the injuries they suffered were completely out of their control.
Life comes at you fast indeed.
Alberto de Roa contributed the research for this article.