Find out how DeMarcus Cousins helped Sacramento-area children celebrate the holiday season with a fun-filled shopping spree.
Decked out in one of the biggest Santa Claus suits imaginable, complete with a white beard and purple Kings stocking hat, center DeMarcus Cousins – affectionately named “Santa Cuz” – provided 50 Sacramento-area children on Tuesday a memorable holiday filled with gifts, treats, photos and autographs.
“Growing up, I was one of the kids who wasn’t as fortunate to have big Christmases or get lots of gifts,” said Cousins. “So I was in these kids’ position at one point. I know how it feels and I’m going to always be the person who gives back.”
As part of the Kings 11th annual Season of Giving, No. 15 hosted 30 children from St. John’s Shelter Program for Women and Children and 20 students from Washington Elementary School for a shopping spree at Kings proud Partner Walmart. Each participant received $200 to spend on items at the department store, while proud Partner Wells Fargo surprised each of the students’ families with an additional $100 gift card.
During the festive event, the Kentucky product roamed the aisles to help children pick out presents, reaching to bring down bicycles and grabbing dozens of toys off the racks to the glee of his young fans.
“It’s about putting smiles on kids’ faces,” he said. “They’re here having a good time and they’re getting gifts they want.”
Throughout the enjoyable evening, the kind-hearted big man dished out hugs and posed for photos with overjoyed families, and even rode a bike down the aisle while marveling at the attendees’ selections.
“I’m probably the biggest kid in here,” the center said with a chuckle.
Washington Elementary School fourth grader Jose – who picked out two PlayStation 3 video games, a Lego City set and a Nerf sports toy, as well as Barbie DVDs for his younger sister – came away in awe after meeting his favorite player.
“It was pretty cool,” said a smiling Jose, donning a Kings windbreaker jacket. “I told him, ‘The next game you play, I want to go see it.’”
Cousins commended the student on being one of many children who opted to spend part of the allotted budget on presents for family members.
“The biggest surprise is they’re getting gifts for other people,” he said. “That’s a good thing (because) at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”
And much to Jose’s delight, he will get his wish.
All 50 students will be guests of the team, as Cousins and the Kings battle David Lee and the Warriors at Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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