How DeMarcus Cousins Got His ‘Boogie’ Nickname

DeMarcus Cousins has had a rough go of it over the past few seasons, but before that he was one of the best big men in the NBA. Not only was he a solid defender, inside scorer, and rebounder, but he also had a nice touch from the outside so rarely seen in players his size. 

One other way Cousins has stood out from other players is his distinctive nickname. Cousins sometimes goes by the nickname of “Boogie.” But where did that come from and does he still like people using it? Let’s take a closer look at Cousins’ career, other famous nicknames, and how Cousins came to be Boogie. 

DeMarcus Cousins career overview 

Cousins played one season collegiately at the University of Kentucky before going pro. According to Basketball Reference, the Sacramento Kings drafted Cousins with the fifth overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. Cousins spent seven seasons in Sac-Town before he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans to play alongside standout center Anthony Davis. An ACL injury ended Cousins’ second season with the team prematurely.

When he reached free agency, he went to Golden State where he spent the 2018-2019 season. Cousins hadn’t fully recovered from his injury, however, and wasn’t quite the same player he had been in the past. 

Cousins signed another below-market deal to play with the Los Angeles Lakers this season, but another injury kept him out of action. When he’s healthy, Cousins is one of the best bigs in the game. He’s averaged a double-double for his career (21.2 points per game, 10.9 rebounds per game). 

Of course, none of this explains how Cousins got his famous nickname. He’s not the only player with a nickname in NBA history, though. 

Famous NBA nicknames 

Many players receive nicknames, either from childhood or their playing career, that stick with them throughout their time in the NBA. A few famous ones include: 

  • The Mailman. Karl Malone was called this because he always delivered. As one of the best scoring power forwards of all time, it’s hard to argue with this moniker. 
  • The Round Mound of Rebound. This unflattering nickname went to Charles Barkley. It was a commentary on Barkley’s rather unique level of fitness combined with his propensity for grabbing rebounds. 
  • The Glove. Gary Payton got this nickname due to his incredible ability to play effective man-to-man defense. He could stick to the player he was defending like a glove. 
  • The Answer. Allen Iverson was called “The Answer” as a high compliment for his ability to create plays off the dribble. He was the answer to almost all of his team’s problems. 
  • The Greek Freak. Giannis Antetokounmpo is sometimes referred to as “The Greek Freak” because he hails from Greece and also because of his freakish, almost unworldly athletic ability. 

So with those famous nicknames in mind, how did Cousins come to be known as Boogie? 

How DeMarcus Cousins got the nickname “Boogie” 

An Undefeated piece on Cousins gave two explanations for how he got the Boogie nickname: 

  • One story says that one of his Birmingham high school coaches had an altercation with Cousins on a team bus. Rumor has it that Cousins won the fight with the coach, ending up with others referring to him as “The Boogie Man.” 
  • Another story (which has been confirmed as true) says that then-Kentucky assistant coach and former Washington Wizards’ guard Rod Strickland complimented the “smoothness” of Cousins’ game, saying it had some “boogie” in it. 

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