DeMarcus Cousins is one of us -- that is, he's a Mobilian. Boogie went to LeFlore High School and used to play basketball next door at Figures Park . Eventually, he went to Kentucky and found his way to the NBA. He's an All-Star center, one of the league's best players, and currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans (hopefully for the rest of his career).
This past weekend, Boogie announced his intention to give back. On Saturday, Cousins presented Mayor Sandy Stimpson with a giant novelty check for $253,000 to build an outdoor basketball court at the same park where he played. This is something he and the mayor (who seem to have become fast friends) talked about three years ago. For Cousins, it's about giving kids something to do and keeping them out of trouble.
And the mayor is grateful, as quoted at al.com:
"There's no way to really describe how monumental this is for our community, and it's not just this park," Stimpson told the crowd. "Let me explain the magnitude of this: Other than one other baseball player, DeMarcus is the first professional athlete to step up at this level and give back to the community because of what the community had meant to him. He is setting the tone for others to do likewise, because there's no reason why we shouldn't have the very best recreational facilities, not just in Mobile, but in the state of Alabama. So we really owe DeMarcus a huge, huge debt of gratitude."
By the way, the "one other baseball player" is Jake Peavy. If you follow Mobile's sports (or music) scene, you probably already knew that.
As a Pelicans fan, I'll thank Boogie for being awesome! (Let's make the playoffs this year, ok?) As a Mobilian and an American, I'll thank Boogie for caring so much about his community... and trying to make things better here. The latter is ultimately more important.
CLICK HERE for pictures from Boogie's Block Party and a look at the new basketball court's design.