Like all professional sports leagues, the NBA is famous for the creative ways its players have initiated the youngsters into the league. Rookies have to earn their place, right?
Of course, given its long history, the NBA is littered with hazing stories and traditions. No one is exempted from getting the rookie treatment: LeBron James and Magic Johnson have opened up about how they were treated over the course of their first years. You have the old classics, like grabbing donuts for teammates, filling cars with popcorn, or grabbing the newspaper for a veteran. Lately, veterans have gotten more creative, like kicking balls into the stands for rookies to fetch, or making them wear weird outfits.
However, there are also stories that stand out amongst the crowd, truly notable moments in the history of rookie hazing in the NBA.
Ranging from fun to downright terrifying, these are the three craziest rookie hazing stories in NBA history, ranked. And remember, no one is free from the rookie treatment, not really. Keep that in mind as you read:
3. Draymond Green hosts a dance party
In what is definitely going to be the only lighthearted story on this ranking, the 2012-13 Golden State Warriors are most likely what started the culture of “fun” Warriors teams. You had Stephen Curry starting to see the other side of his injury struggles, the blue and maize color scheme was back, and you had Draymond Green’s rookie year. Oh, and you also have arguably the most wholesome hazing video ever made.
The year 2012 will be remembered as the year of the “fake apocalypse,” but it was also the year of “Gangnam Style” by Psy–remember that song?
Draymond and Harrison Barnes sure will, especially after the team made them dance to the most viral song of the year. The best part of the video were the shades and jackets, but the young Warriors were as slick as they could be.
2. Jason Williams’ unique bus seat
There are a lot of crazy rookie hazing stories throughout NBA history, but Chris Webber might take the cake as the most savage individual to ever live, at least as far as this ranking is concerned. The now-basketball analyst recently recounted a story of how he once made Jason Williams ride under the team bus with the luggage on one memorable road trip.
Sounds like a tall tale, right? Well, let’s see what Williams had to say about it:
I’m scarred for life!!!! https://t.co/SvGImYNwzk
— Jason Williams (@55buckets) August 22, 2020
Former team Director of Sports Medicine Pete Youngman recounted the story in detail:
“We had no idea until we got to the hotel, open a luggage bay and out pops a flushed face Jason! It wasn’t a very hot Florida day, but buried in bags with no ventilation for a 25 minute ride usually isn’t the best breathing environment.”
How in the hell did someone persuade White Chocolate to ride at the bottom of the bus, in Florida!? Jason Williams and Chris Webber were legendary for their on-court chemistry, but it’s anyone’s guess as to how the two managed to get along after this happened. Legendary.
1. John Salley and Dennis Rodman’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
Are you really surprised to see the Bad Boy Pistons here? They were the original villains of the NBA, and it definitely carried over to the way they treated their rookies. In fact, in just his first week with the team, John Salley had one of the most harrowing rookie hazing experiences ever–which he detailed on his podcast “Spider and the Henchman.”
Okay, let’s break this doozy down:
- Salley and fellow rookie Dennis Rodman (yes, him) were made to clean the team’s locker room after practice
- Teammates left the locker room intentionally dirty: Bill Laimbeer reportedly stuck his sweaty jersey and jock on the walls
- While Salley and Rodman were gone, guests were invited to eat their portions of the team’s post-practice dinner
- They came back to the hotel to soaked beds, which they had to sleep in
Forget the fact that this sequence of events is awful for anyone to experience, let alone to experience all in one day. The Pistons got away with doing this to Dennis Rodman, the baddest dude in the NBA for the entirety of his peak. Nothing else needs be said.