Skip to main content

How Shaquille O'Neal avoided rookie hazing "This is my team, bruv."


Scottie Pippen was slapped by Charles Oakley, Paul George got a new Disney Princess carrying bag, Bradley Beal was Trevor Ariza's personal shoe tying guy, and LeBron James was Cleveland's doughnuts guy. That's the beauty of the rookie hazing. It isn't discriminatory. It doesn't care about your talent, your rookie scale contract, nor how important you are for the franchise.

Think of it as an initiation rite, something no NBA rookie is immune to. You're either wearing funny backpacks, getting your car filled with popcorn, or participating in a dance-off with your teammates. Either way, there's no way around the rookie hazing.

It's a way of humbling the newcomers, showing them "tough love," and letting them know that they're not bigger than the team. But it's all done in good fun, helping the young guys transition into the grown man league that is the NBA.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

I had to bring Andrew Toney warm milk like 11 o'clock in the morning. I had to go through room service to get it. Dr. J wanted the newspaper first thing in the morning. It used to always piss me off 'cause I was like 'why I got to get up early and get you a newspaper?'

Charles Barkley, Inside the NBA

You were a rookie, Chuck, that's why you were the paperboy. As I said, no one is immune to it. Well, not exactly no one. It turns out, even the rookie hazing rule has an exception, and it comes by the name of Shaquille O'Neal.

“First day I got there, Scottie Skiles was like 'get my bags rook.' I was like, 'I don't do that, I'm the franchise player,' and I never got aced. I was like, 'this is my team, bruv.'”

Shaquille O'Neal, Inside the NBA

Shaq wasn't cut some slack by the vets. He simply refused to participate in the whole hazing thing. The rationale he gave was of basketball nature, but I doubt that's how he got away with it. I'm guessing it had more to do the guy's size.

So I guess there's a way around the rookie hazing. The recipe is simple - you have to be a 7-1, 300-pound giant. With that frame, no one will make you carry Barbie bags around, that's for sure.

New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing

"I'm here and I plan to finish my career here" — when Patrick Ewing left the New York Knicks for the Seattle Supersonics

Patrick Ewing hinted at how things played out with him and the Knicks that prompted him to leave the team in 2000.

michael-jordan-luc-longley-min (1)

Luc Longley on Michael Jordan’s only condition to end the Chicago Bulls’ practice sessions

Luc Longley gave us a peek into Michael Jordan's obsession with competition and winning.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas

“You're not given a real chance” — Isaiah Thomas breaks down 10-day contracts in the NBA

Former Boston Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas opens up about the reality of 10-day contracts in the NBA.

Charlotte Hornets guard Tony Parker

Almost lifers — stars who played their entire career for a single NBA franchise until their last season

As it turns out, all five guys probably would've been better off just retiring as icons of their original teams.

Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade

“Being able to stay out to 5AM and still score 40” — Dwyane Wade on his favorite memory from the 2006 Miami Heat

Dwyane Wade still couldn't help but be elated whenever he looked back at his 2006 run with the Miami Heat.

Sacramento Kings guards Mike Bibby and Jason Williams

“They were both awesome in their way for our team” — Ex-Sacramento Kings center Scot Pollard compares Mike Bibby and Jason Williams

Former Sacramento Kings center Scot Pollard was asked to appoint the better point guard between Jason Williams and Mike Bibby.

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr

"I was on morphine at the time" — Steve Kerr got his World Championship Gold Medal while in a daze

Steve Kerr's professional basketball career almost ended before it even started.