As a rookie playing for Atlanta, Royal Ivey would get a call almost every night at 2 a.m. during away games from veteran Kevin Willis. Trey Kerby of The Basketball Jones reveals what Willis had planned for Ivey.
"Rook, I need you to get me a carton of cigarettes."
Of course, Kevin Willis didn't smoke, but Ivey would still have to find a convenience store, get those cigarettes and deliver them to Willis.
"Thanks Rook," Willis would say, smiling, and proceed to throw them in the garbage before closing the door on Ivey.
Most of the time, the initiation is friendly and good-natured, meant to show the rookies that while they may have been stars in high school or college, they're not quite there yet in the NBA. The hazing only takes a more serious tone when a rookie gets too cocky after a good game, or if he decides he is too good for the initiation.
That may be the case for rookie Scott Machado.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Machado revealed that he didn't buy into Linsanity, and would rather start for Houston, as opposed to coming off the bench.
This kind of swagger is common among veterans, but not rookies, and despite the possibility that Machado was baited into giving those answers by the New York paper, some took exception to the young guard's bold comments.
Machado is still without a contract, but will most likely be signed by Houston. Unfortunately for him, perception matters. As a result, he will probably get hazed a little more than his rookie peers, likely something to literally cool him off.
"...the guys in Detroit, when the rookies were talking a little noise, they'd tape them up. Put them in the shower, throw ice on them, and leave them there until the second practice," Deron Williams recalled during an interview with emorywheel.com.
Likewise, Jeff Teague, who was perhaps too cocky after a career game against the Cavaliers, found his one-day old car completely filled with popcorn. Josh Smith was the likely culprit; he could barely hide his glee at the situation in the locker room.
Many veterans agree that the hazing that occurs now is nothing compared to the norm during their rookie seasons.
Now, most teams gather all the rookies on center court during a preseason game and have them do a dance-off, or make sure the rookies get donuts or bagels for everyone during shoot-around. At the least, they have to pick up all the water bottles after practice.
On occasion, rookies are left with large bills, sometimes at restaurants or hotels. Fortunately, at the end of the year, the veterans usually leave envelopes compensating the rookies for all their financial headaches.
Outside of the game, with some exceptions, most rookies and sophomores hang out together in one group, with the older veterans in another.
So what of a young team like the Houston Rockets, where the most prominent veteran is Kevin Martin, but the majority of the roster is still young?
The hazing will undoubtedly still continue, most notably for Machado, but also for others. Expect Motiejunas, White, Jones and Lamb to be sporting new Barbie or Hello Kitty backpacks, which they will most likely have to carry whenever they are in the Toyota Center.
The rookies will likely arrive for games in hilarious clothing and colorful suits. Even coaches such as Mike D'Antoni feel this is something all rookies must go through as a bonding and initiation experience.
The situation could be much worse, but still hilarious. During an away game in Salt Lake City in his first season with the Dallas Mavericks, Jason Terry was told to get Krispy Kreme donuts for everyone. Little did he know, there wasn't a Krispy Kreme in all of Utah, let alone Salt Lake. But as a rookie, you still have to get those donuts.
He showed up to practice late—with the donuts in hand.