HoopsHype Bullying rumors

November 27, 2013 Updates

In my column about bullying in the NBA, I noted that the Warriors filled then-rookie Kent Bazemore’s Audi with popcorn and removed the tires from fellow rookie Festus Ezeli’s car and placed them in his locker. Veteran forward David Lee clarified that both pranks were motivated by the rookies not following team rules. Bleacher Report

Bazemore violated the shower code, which is that if all the showers are occupied when a veteran enters, he must give his up regardless of where he is in his hygiene routine. (Apparently Stephen Curry entered and Bazemore said something to the effect of, “Just give me a minute.”) Ezeli’s indiscretion was helping himself to a plate of food on the team plane ahead of the veterans. “We didn’t do it just because they were rookies,” Lee said. “There was cause and effect.” Bleacher Report

November 12, 2013 Updates

If there’s a difference between the Dolphins’ Martin and O’Neal, it’s that the older Blazers also took care of O’Neal in their way. He turned 18 that first season but still wasn’t old enough to get into a lot of clubs or bars, so Trent would hang with him at the hotel and play video games. When they sent him for food, they’d pay for his meal along with the gas money. They knew he was making considerably less than most of them, and they bought him suits and occasionally gave him their per diem allotment on the road. He figures his teammates ultimately spent more on him than the bill for repairing his hotel room. “I have a lot more good stories than bad ones,” he says. Bleacher Report

O’Neal and several other veterans said such baptisms of fire don’t exist today, or at least they're not nearly as fiery. There are pranks, such as when the Warriors filled Kent Bazemore’s Nissan with popcorn. Kicking balls into the stands to be retrieved after a game-day shootaround, wearing a Dora The Explorer backpack, delivering pre-practice doughnuts and singing their school song are all standard practices. But that’s about it. "It's gotten a lot different," O'Neal said. "You hear stories, like about guys having the wheels taken off of their car and put in their locker, but I don't think anyone takes that kind of stuff as personal." Bleacher Report

How many NFL players, do you imagine, have had a rock star from another part of the world in their midst or been immersed in another culture that way? Olden Polynice is remembered now as a physical—bordering on dirty—NBA player whose 17-year career ended in 2001 (played two games with the Clippers in 2003-04), but he didn’t start that way. No-holds barred rebounding drills and the desire to keep his job led him to it. But the way NBA players went at each other in his day in no way compares to what he’s heard about the NFL. “Talking to my friends in the NFL, if we saw what went on in their practices and locker rooms, we’d be appalled,” he says. Bleacher Report

November 9, 2013 Updates

All 30 NBA teams received a memo from the league office Friday reminding them that no form of bullying or hazing will be tolerated, according to league sources. The memo, sources said, references the Miami Dolphins' ongoing bullying scandal and urges NBA players to report anything if they feel the need while also spelling out specific violations of the league's policies. Sources said the memo reiterated a number of prohibited behaviors that would violate league policy. ESPN.com

Also prohibited, sources said, is requiring an individual to unreasonably pay for meals, travel, entertainment expenses, goods or services that are being solely enjoyed by others as well as imposing physical activities on a fellow player -- such as exposure to weather, confinement in a restricted area, or consumption of food, liquid or substance -- that leads to unreasonable risk for the individual or adversely affects their mental or physical health or safety ESPN.com

Rookies also typically have to carry bags or even bring food in for veteran players on practice days, but sources with multiple teams consulted by ESPN.com this week have said the NBA culture is different than the NFL's when it comes to the behind-the-scenes treatment of young players. Said one Western Conference team official: "It has really lightened up in recent years." Added another team official from the West: "I've been around for a while and I've never really heard any crazy stories." ESPN.com

Sixteen NBA seasons and Bulls veteran big man Nazr Mohammed says he has never witnessed bullying. Hundreds of different teammates and Mohammed says he has never seen a white player given ‘‘honorary black man status’’ allowing him to use the N-word at will. ‘‘I’m close with Kirk [Hinrich], and I’m really close with [the Okla­homa City Thunder’s] Nick Collison, and how does a conversation like that even start?’’ he said. Chicago Sun-Times

November 8, 2013 Updates

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