Rookie duties are basically like a rite of passage in professional sports. To earn your stripes in whichever league you play in, rookies are often tasked with performing certain tasks for the established veterans of their team. It’s certainly not as common an occurrence as it used to be, but every now and then, you will see veterans require their rookie teammates to perform a humorous task as part of the tradition.
Martin refused to be assigned rookie duties with the Nets
While most of the tasks are done in jest nowadays, that wasn’t always the case, as veterans genuinely wanted rookies to perform menial tasks for them. Oftentimes, the rookies obeyed, but one who didn’t was Kenyon Martin, and it ended up leading to no rookies on the 2000-01 New Jersey Nets performing any rookie duties.
Martin refused to get hazed by his veteran teammates just because he was a rookie, and it saved his fellow rookies, such as Stephen Jackson, from performing any tasks like that themselves. Jackson recently gave Martin credit for allowing him to avoid the rookie duties during their rookie year with the Nets, and Martin explained why he refused to allow his teammates to boss him around during his first year in the league.
“I just had the mentality, man, like ain’t no grown man gonna make me do nothing. I wasn’t 19, I wasn’t 18 when I got drafted, I was 22. Strong as an ox. Three percent body fat. I’m not doing it, you ain’t making me. If I wanted to buy you donuts I would do it on my own terms. If I want to help the manager with the bags, I’m going to help him out of the kindness of my f***ing heart.” - Kenyon Martin, All The Smoke
Martin certainly has some strong feelings about rookie duties
As you can see, Martin vehemently refused to take part in the Nets rookie hazing back in his rookie season, and it’s telling that no one found a way to tell him otherwise. Martin wasn’t going to allow himself to be at the beck and call of the veterans of his team, and while many rookies would have caved, Martin didn’t back down, and his teammates eventually let him get away with it.
There are certain instances where rookie duties will still come into play, but for the most part, veterans won’t be forcing rookies to get them donuts nowadays. Players like Martin voicing their disdain for these duties helped it become less popular over time, and without him, maybe they would still be as prominent as they were back in the day. In a way, Martin can be thanked for helping contribute to the decrease in rookie duties in professional sports.