Cousins’ arrest warrant shows the delicacy of a sports career.

After a recent criminal charge, the future of DeMarcus Cousins hangs right in the balance, and as Grant Barnes says, he capitalised on his talent at just the right time.

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Cousins lining up for Golden state last season (Credit: Getty Images)

One year ago, DeMarcus Cousins was looking at a contract that would make him $40 million richer. The All-NBA centre was one of the most dominant big men in the NBA, and was just coming off of an achilles injury which threatened to derail his career. Despite this, the New Orleans Pelicans offered Cousins the chance to rebuild his career with life changing money.

Fast forward to the present day, and Cousins is facing the prospect of a criminal charge after a disturbing audio clipping was released by TMZ, which appears to depict Cousins threatening to “put a bullet” in his ex-girlfriend’s head over an argument surrounding their son. A warrant has been filed for Cousins’ arrest, which comes weeks after Cousins suffered his 3rd career threatening injury in the space of 18 months, after he signed a veterans’ minimum contract with the Los Angeles Lakers worth only $3.5 million.

Cousins entered the NBA in 2010 and quickly established himself as one of the most imposing players in the league. After a few fruitful years with the Sacramento Kings, the Pelicans offered Cousins $40 million over the space of two years, only a few months after he ruptured his achilles. Such an injury is one that NBA players never fully recover from, and at 29-years-old, Cousins has cruelly had his peak years taken away from. The opportunity to make $40 million in that time was Cousins’ ultimate insurance.

New Orleans was not the pipe dream for Cousins. He saw the opportunity to rebuild his career with the Golden State Warriors in the form of an easy route to a Championship, joining what was already the most dominant team in the NBA on a $5 million contract. There was to be no glorious redemption for Cousins as a torn quad ripped him of his finals opportunity.

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Cousins arrest warrant comes two months before the start of the season (Credit: Getty Images)

In his peak years, DeMarcus Cousins was faced with the prospect of mounds of NBA teams lining up to offer him hundreds of millions of dollars, and in the space of a year, his career could be over. The volatility and unpredictability of sports places a huge burden on the men and women who devote their lives to it, and there is such a limited window of opportunity to propel yourself to the next level.

Only last week, star Quarterback Andrew Luck stunningly announced his retirement from the NFL. Luck, a former number one pick, was seen by many as Indianapolis’ best hope for a Superbowl. However, in his early years, poor blocking saw Luck take an incredible amount of damage which has forced him to retire at the age of 29.

Saido Berahino was tipped as one of the Premier League’s brightest talents after bursting onto the scene in 2013. The Burundi international was even the subject of a £15 million move to Stoke City after being linked with clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur. However, a string of high-profile incidents, including a failed drugs test saw Berahino admittedly “lose his way.”

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Berahino was linked to Spurs when his stock was at it’s highest (Credit: Getty Images)

The West Brom striker would go on to hit a milestone of two years without a goal for The Potters and would later be arrested for drink driving, which led to the club cancelling his contract. He now plies his trade in the Belgian First Division.

For the last 15 years, Michael Phelps has dominated Olympic swimming. The undisputed greatest of all time, many have tried, and many have failed to knock Phelps off his throne. The man to come the closest in 2012, was Ryan Lochte. An Olympic teammate of Phelps, Lochte even beat the most decorated Olympian of all time in the 200m Individual Medley in the 2012 London Olympics. However, after the infamous “Lochtegate” and a recent drugs charge, suspensions once again took Lochte’s peak years from his grasp.

All these athletes have mostly gone on to achieve great things in their fields. Especially with Luck and Lochte, these athletes had the opportunity to reach the zenith of their crafts. A lifetime of work, dedication and sacrifice to be placed on the Mount Rushmore of football, basketball, swimming.

The window for an athlete to truly reach their peak can be so limited, and with one injury, a scandal, an unwillingness to mature and grow, this can be snatched away in an instant. Whether it is the dream to play at the highest level, be offered life-changing sums of money, or even the chance to further your own career, it is a world of fine margins, which more and more athletes are finding to be a harsh reality.

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