If you’re a stand-up comedy aficionado like me, you appreciate the coterie of greats that are virtually known by mononym: Pryor, Carlin, Martin, Diller, Hedberg, Bruce, Wright, Kinison, Foxx, Macdonald, Cosby, Carson, Murphy, Seinfeld, Chappelle, CK, Rock.
That list, of course, is grossly incomplete without the legendary, yet widely unappreciated jokester Rodney Dangerfield.
“I don’t get no respect!”
That catchphrase built an industry of humor for the late great funnyman. Under the guise of self-depreciation, he cut right to the audience’s soul, generating side-splitting laughs that, obviously, showed the kind of deference that all comics covet.
“I get no respect. The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest.”
Through his numerous appearances on The Tonight Show, his Las Vegas act and his movies that garnered a cult following, Dangerfield consistently brought the funny in a way that made fans unwittingly root for more of the feigned misery that fostered his comedic genius.
“Onstage, Mr. Dangerfield is a verbal boxer who dances lightly around a theme, then closes in for the kill, delivering a barrage of one- and two-line punches in an accelerated rapid-fire delivery that becomes an orgiastic flurry of jabs,” wrote Stephen Holden of the New York Times.
“You gotta look out for number one, but don’t step in number two!”
If there was ever an athlete that embodies Dangerfield’s signature line, it’s Sacramento Kings star DeMarcus Cousins.
For all of his on-court dominance, especially on the low block (read: he averaged 26.9 points, 11.5 boards and 1.4 swats per contest last season), he’s still regarded as though he’s a pouty, petulant child instead of the game’s best big man. Let’s just call it like it is—there’s no freakin’ way he shouldn’t have been on the All-NBA First Team.
“In my mind, it’s not even close between me and the next person,” Cousins told SLAM last year. “I would say the next big is AD (Anthony Davis), but it’s not close, in my mind. Not close.”
And it isn’t.
Everyone knows it, including all of the experts, analysts and pundits. But just like Dangerfield, the former University of Kentucky standout gets no respect.
So what will it take for everyone to, as Birdman infamously said, stop playing with his name and put some “respek” on it?
“At this point, it’s about winning,” said Cousins. “I got the All-Star appearances. I got Team USA. My name is out there. It’s just about winning, it’s about carrying a team. I mean, from a talent perspective I know I’m way above any other big man—now it’s just about winning…I’ve sat here and thought about it, I’ve analyzed other players and, shit, win, and they’ll accept you for whoever you are. You could be a fucking crackhead and they’ll love you. If you win, they sweep everything under the rug.”
Dangerfield fans can definitely appreciate Boogie’s wit on the absurdity of his underrated status.
“I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out.”
But, even in jest, he’s totally onto something. Winning does cure all when it comes to taking that next step toward superstardom. The numbers are already staggering, so no one expects DMC to get more buckets (he was the fourth leading scorer in the L last year) or Windex the glass with more impunity. All he really needs to do to quiet his detractors is step up as a leader, make his teammates better and bring back that winning culture to Cali’s state capital.
No one in the SLAM Dome wants Boogie to stop dropping F-bombs in interviews—seriously, never change, Boogie.
But if he wants to shake all of the negative perceptions and finally enjoy his rightful place as one of the league’s elite MVP-caliber players, he might want to pick his battles with opposing squads, inhale and let all the non-calls go and maybe, drastically cut back on all the technical fouls.
If DMC does all of the above and bring it like he always does, when the 2016-17 season comes to a close, he’ll be having the last laugh.
DEMARCUS COUSINS SLAM TOP 50 HISTORY
|SLAM Top 50 Players 2016|
Rankings are based on expected contribution in 2016-17—to players’ team, the NBA and the game.
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