It’s no secret that when rookies enter the league in any sport they can expect a tough time from some of the veterans. Some rookies get it worse than others, and sometimes the hazing is more public and therefore slightly more embarrassing.
Oklahoma City Thunder big man Nick Collison is doing a blog for GQ, and in the most recent installment he talked about some of the hazing he went through and what he’s doing to the new batch of rookies in OKC.
“…I was spared most of the usual rookie stuff. Still, I did have to sing at a dinner once. I chose “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot, since he’s a Seattle guy and because I had memorized it via my Walkman when I was 12. I also had to carry bags on the few road trips.
I’m pretty easy on rookies, and I think it’s because I had it easy myself. There is one thing, however, that I do enjoy doing: Once or twice a year after shoot-around on the road we will empty the entire ball rack by either throwing or punting each ball into the stands, then make the rookies climb the steps all around the arena to get each ball. I’m not sure why, but I really like doing that.”
So Collison keeps it pretty simple, but his teammate, Royal Ivey, had it tough when he was a rookie, so he’s not as nice. Royal’s teammates used to make him go get cigarettes at 2 in the morning, even though they didn’t smoke, so he was eager to pass along the hazing tradition.
“We make sure our rookies this season—Reggie Jackson and Ryan Reid—wear their pink Justin Bieber and “My Little Pony” backpacks and carry their oversized teddy bears on all road trips. Last year, Royal had Cole Aldrich’s car filled to the roof with packing peanuts. He says he went easy on him—it could have been buttered popcorn. “
I’ve always found the whole rookie-hazing thing quite entertaining. I’m a big fan of pranks and it’s fun when it’s athletes you see giving everything they have out on the court taking the time to have a little fun. In fact, “Rookie Hazing” could be a pretty good reality show… Hmm…