Sacramento Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins says he is paying for the funeral expenses for slain Grant Union senior football player Jaulon Clavo because the shooting death “touched home for me.”
“I’m a parent myself,” he told reporters, including those from the Sacramento Bee, after the Kings game Sunday night. “I couldn’t imagine losing one of my kids.”
Cousins’ shoes for the game including the notation RIP JJ.
Clavo, known by his friends and teammates as JJ, was shot and killed while driving to a team meeting before Friday’s playoff game against Beyer (Modesto, Calif.). He was shot while driving a car with four other football players off campus when a suspect or suspects opened fire on their car. Two of the players in the car were hit, including Clavo, who was the driver.
Cousins said the gesture had nothing to do with being a pro athlete.
“It’s my responsibility as a child of God,” he said. “I’m just playing my part.”
Often spotted attending local high school sporting events, Cousins has been seen roaming the sideline during Grant football games.
“There are specific areas that I like to reach out to because once upon a time I was one of those kids,” Cousins said. “I didn’t have a lot of opportunity. I didn’t have the game and the goal so I know exactly what those kids are going through.
“Don’t become another statistic You can do things. Believe in yourself. Dream big and anything is possible.”
Cousins had wanted the donation to be anonymous but Sacramento City Council member Rick Jennings announced it Saturday night at a candlelight vigil.
“It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s more about the family and more about the kids. It’s crazy how strong mothers are. I have the utmost respect.”
Along with Cousins, the Roberts Family Development Center in the area offered a $3,500 reward.
“Let’s not let the community be defined by killers of our children,” center director Derrell Roberts said told the Sacramento Bee. “Enough is enough. Live and let live.”