pelicansmediaday.092617.026.JPG

New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins (0) takes part in Pelicans Media Day at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, La. Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. The Pelicans begin their preseason schedule in the Smoothie King Center October 3rd against the Chicago Bulls.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON

DeMarcus Cousins received an exclusive honor Friday.

The New Orleans Pelicans’ center has earned All-NBA and All-Star selections, but starting his eighth season, Cousins for the first time took home the league’s NBA Cares Community Assist award, thanks to his various charitable works.

The honor is bestowed to a different player monthly during the season, but Cousins’ recognition celebrates his work throughout the entire offseason.

“I’m thankful for the award,” he said. “But the people who know me know that I do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

In a release, the league said it is honoring Cousins for his work to help those most in need in the communities that have impacted his life and NBA career, while inspiring fellow NBA players to join his efforts.

Those efforts were widespread.

Cousins donated an outdoor basketball facility at Figures Park in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama and hosted large-scale basketball camps in Sacramento, California, and Birmingham, Alabama, which included free eye exams, school supplies and block parties.

While his efforts in New Orleans have been limited by the length of his tenure, Cousins said he intends to never abandon any of the communities that have embraced him.

“It’s very important to me,” Cousins said. “I’ve built relationships in a lot of the different places I’ve been. My biggest thing is helping those kids and helping families in need. I was once in their position, and it would’ve done wonders if I could’ve had a little bit of help coming up. I’m just doing my part.”

Cousins has expressed his eagerness to do more work in New Orleans as the season progresses and has already been a part of the team’s community events in the past month.

Although major events are orchestrated by his team, Cousins said much of his charitable work is done spontaneously, thanks to ideas constantly churning about how he can provide assistance to those most in need.

“It’ll be at the most random times,” Cousins said. “I give a lot of credit to my team, because I come up with the most crazy ideas at the most random times and they get it together. I come up with ideas, but my team is the one who gets it together. They deserve more credit than me, honestly.”