When Jaulon Clavo died last week, NBA All-Star DeMarcus Cousins offered to pay the teen’s funeral expenses.
The Grant High School senior was off campus getting food with four of his teammates before Friday night’s scheduled first-round playoff game against rival Beyer High School. As the Sacramento student-athletes made their way back to the school, an unknown shooter or shooters opened fire on the car, fatally injuring Clavo and hitting teammate Malik Johnson in the arm.
As Clavo’s family grieved, they got some support from an unexpected place: a professional athlete.
Cousins, the starting center for the Sacramento Kings, offered to pay funeral costs, hoping to remain anonymous.
But word got out when City Council member Rick Jennings let word slip during Saturday’s candlelight vigil.
Why did Cousins cover the cost? “I’m just playing my part,” Cousins tells the Sacramento Bee. “It’s my responsibility as a child of God [to help this family].”
According to the local ABC affiliate, Cousins has been known to stop by Grant High School football games on occasion and is heavily involved with local schools.
Earlier this year, Cousins donated nearly $28,000 to another local high school to buy new scoreboards.
“It was me just connecting with the area,” he told the Sacramento Bee. “I came from a similar area, so I know how it is to come up this type of way. Just giving these kids an opportunity and help broaden their horizons.”
That school, Sacramento High, plays host to the annual DeMarcus Cousins Elite Skills Basketball Camp, a free camp for underprivileged youth between the ages of 7 and 16 in the Sacramento area.
When reading about the off-the-court actions of athletes, we’re often reminded of the bad, and not the good.
In a world where it seems we’re always hearing about a new case of domestic abuse being committed by a player in the NBA, NFL, or other leagues, it’s refreshing to hear stories about players like Cousins who seem to genuinely care about the local community.
Sadly, though, in the case of Jaulon Clavo, no amount of giving back to the community will actually bring him back.
And maybe that’s why it’s so important that we remember the good in the world and not just the bad. It’s in remembering this that we can find the strength to regroup and push to make the world a more loving, caring, and accepting place free from the violence that took this young man’s life.
Thank you for that reminder, DeMarcus Cousins. In times of darkness, it’s exactly what humanity needs.