Don’t worry, guys — everyone has to do it. The Toronto Raptors are welcoming their rookies to the big show this week the only way NBA veterans know how. As you can see from the photos above, 2011 first-round pick Jonas Valanciunas and rookies Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy have been rocking children’s backpacks with the added bonus of stuffed cartoon characters. Since Valanciunas is technically a sophomore he got to rep someone cool like Bart Simpson. Ross wasn’t so luck and neither was Acy:
When it comes to rookie hazing, some get off easy and others have to fight for their lives just to survive. The type of torment a rookie has to deal with ultimately depends on how creative the veterans are on his team. Unfortunately for Jazz rookie center Enes Kanter, Utah has some pretty innovative senior members. When the Jazz sit and chow down on delicious fried chicken after games, Kanter has to either watch or face the wrath of Al Jefferson.
For several minutes, Jefferson publicly hounded Kanter. And while the Utah rookie was reminded all four boxes of chicken weren’t just for him at the same time a teammate made fun of his too-large dress shirt, Jefferson displayed his veteran chops. Not only couldn’t Kanter dig in and fill up a heaping plate, but he couldn’t even eat until everyone else with at least one year of professional service had stepped up to the line and done their part to devour what one player estimated was $200 worth of chicken.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, even assistant coaches will step up and take down some chicken if it means none being left for Kanter. Six-year veteran C.J. Miles said he has never seen anyone have to deal with the stuff that Jefferson makes his fellow center deal with in all his time with the Jazz.
This week alone, Kanter has had to provide Dunkin Donuts for all of his teammates, hike to to the top of Time Warner Cable Arena, and — of course — walk around the locker room offering fried chicken to his teammates while enjoying nothing but the smell of it. The life of a rookie can be tough, but it sounds like Kanter could be the most unlucky rookie in the NBA.
Maybe it’s just me, but I kind of like these backpacks. Children’s-themed backpacks seem to have emerged as one of the favorite forms of hazing across sports. The latest victims — if you want to call them that — are the Denver Nuggets rookies. As you can see from the photos above and below, the Nuggets forced their rookies to carry around Dora the Explorer and Hello Kitty backpacks this week. It could be much worse, right?
At least five members of the Andover High (Mass.) basketball team have been suspended, and two have been expelled for their roles in an alleged hazing incident that took place over the summer.
Several players from the team attended a basketball camp on the Stonehill College campus in Easton, Ma. early July. At the camp, some upperclassmen allegedly forced younger players to participate in a hazing game where they were forced to eat semen-covered cookies. They called the game “wet biscuit,” but it’s also known as “ookie cookie.”
The two ringleaders in the hazing were expelled from school. The other participants were suspended and can no longer play sports the rest of the school year. But the punishment doesn’t end there.
While we would never want to encourage something like hazing here at LBS, it should be noted that oftentimes hazing involves good, clean fun. Take the MLB for example, where most of the rookie hazing we hear about consists of making players dress up as Smurfs or throw on an occasional speedo. In the NFL, the punishment usually comes in the form of a bad haircut or having to carry some extra pads after practice. The Neepawa Natives of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in Canada took things a little too far.
According to the Winnipeg Sun, two Natives coaches and 16 players have been suspended because of hazing incidents this season that involved seven rookie players. More specifically, one player’s parents says several of the rookies were forced to parade around the locker room with a water bottle holder tied to their junk. The holder allegedly had bottles of water in it and towels hanging from it to add weight.
The father of the 15-year-old — who was later forced to apologize to the team for ratting them out — said the older players forced the younger players to have a “rookie dance-off” and remove clothing to “make it sexier.” The veterans judged them based on their dancing performance, and one assistant coach was even said to be present while all of this was going on.
“It’s so wrong,” said the father of the 15-year old who came forward. “I didn’t think that it was around anymore. You can’t believe that it’s happening in this day and age.”
We certainly know hazing still exists in all sports across the country, but as we are shown annually in professional baseball there are ways to go about it without crossing the line. A little light-hearted embarrassment is one thing. Forcing 15-year-olds to strip and put the safety of their baby-makers is right up there with having a pool cue stuck in an unfriendly place.