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BASKETBALL/Taiwan Beer Leopards sign former NBA player DeMarcus Cousins

12/18/2023 03:54 PM
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Taipei, Dec. 18 (CNA) Former NBA center DeMarcus Cousins has joined the T1 League's Taiwan Beer Leopards, and is expected to make his on-court debut on Jan. 20, the Taoyuan-based team said Monday.

The team announced the signing in a press release, calling the addition of the four-time NBA All-Star a major boost not only for the Taiwan Beer Leopards' competitiveness but for Taiwanese basketball as a whole.

"We're confident that with [Cousins's] all-around skills, he'll bring a totally new chemistry to the Leopards," the team's CEO Johnny Chang (張建偉) said.

According to the statement, Cousins is expected to arrive in Taiwan in mid-January -- about midway through the T1 League's 2023-2024 season -- and will be on the court at the team's Jan. 20, 21, 27 and 28 home games.

In a video message posted to the team's Facebook page Monday, the 33-year-old Cousins greeted his fans in Taiwan, saying he was "excited to come over and put on a show for you."

Cousins, a 208-centimeter center, was selected by the Sacramento Kings as the fifth overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft.

In a decade-plus career in the NBA spent mostly with the Kings, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Golden State Warriors, Cousins averaged 19.6 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3 assists per game in 654 total games played.

Cousins was also selected as an NBA All-Star four times and won gold medals with the United States national team at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

He played his last games in the NBA during the 2021-2022 season.

The Leopards, who achieved a similar coup in last year's season by signing former NBA star Dwight Howard, are currently ranked second in the five-team T1 League with a 5-4 record, behind the reigning champions, New Taipei CTBC DEA, at 7-3.

(By Li Chien-chung and Matthew Mazzetta)

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