Former University of Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins has reached out to the family of Stephon Clark to cover the cost of the funeral, a source told The Sacramento Bee.
Clark, 22, shot and killed by Sacramento, Calif., police on Sunday while holding a cellphone in his grandmother’s backyard. The death of Clark, who was unarmed and black, sparked protests Thursday.
Clark’s family set up a GoFundMe page on Monday to raise money for funeral expenses and burial costs with a $50,000 goal. It had raised over $61,000 as of 1 p.m. Pacific time on Friday.
Demonstrators blocked the doors for Thursday’s Kings game against the Atlanta Hawks, bringing the national sports community’s attention to Clark’s story. As tipoff time approached, the Kings began denying ticketholders access to the arena for safety reasons. The start of the game was delayed about 20 minutes and it was played with a sparse crowd in the lower bowl.
Cousins, who played six-plus seasons for the Sacramento Kings before he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans last season, has a history of outreach in the Sacramento community.
He paid for the funeral of Grant High School football player Jaulon “JJ” Clavo, who was shot before a playoff game in 2015. He held free basketball camps at Sacramento High School and bought a new scoreboard for the school’s basketball gym.
Cousins was a regular at high school games and enjoyed being accessible to students, especially at inner-city schools that high-profile athletes might not want to visit.
Cousins participated in forums with police in his hometown of Mobile, Ala., and in Sacramento, and has spoken candidly about the issues and concerns from both sides.
The NBA recognized Cousins’ work away from the court last October, awarding him the inaugural Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his work in Alabama, New Orleans, Sacramento and South Africa.
When Cousins was traded to New Orleans last February, he said he would always consider Sacramento home and that his ties to the community would remain.
Cousins is out for the season after suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon in January.