Rookie hazing has been a popular topic of debate in the sports world over the last few months. The bullying fiasco with the Miami Dolphins has really drawn attention to locker room culture in pro sports, and a lot of what you hear isn’t good. However, as bad as some of the locker room harassment sounds, it is just part of the game. Some cases just happen to be worse than others.
So with that topic in mind, check out what former Los Angeles Lakers forward Cedric Ceballos had to say about Kobe Bryant‘s rookie season back in 1996. He recently sat down with TMZ Sports to shed light on some of the things the rookie Mamba had to do:
“We’d make him chase balls into the stands of the huge arenas, or take bags off the plane in the freezing cold. Or we’d say, ‘I need coffee from Starbucks and donuts from Krispy Kreme’ — and it’d be 2am in a town we just arrived in.”
“Even the veterans who are retired: James Worthy, Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), Wilt Chamberlain… all those guys came down to give him a little bit of rookie hazing, knowing that he was going to be the great player he is.”
Ceballos added that the hazing was all in good fun and that the Lakers didn’t ‘belittle’ guys.
I think it’s pretty funny that Worthy, Abdul-Jabbar and Chamberlain got in the mix as well. It does show that Kobe had greatness written all over him, because it’s doubtful that legends would have bothered with hazing an average player.
But the main point is that the Lakers hazing of Bryant didn’t cross any lines. It was all in good fun and with the thought that rookies have to pay their dues.