Thunder forward and friend of the Hang Time Podcast Nick Collison is blogging for GQ this season, and in his latest column he tackles one of my favorite subjects here on All Ball — the art of rookie hazing.
Most of the time it’s pretty tame stuff, like competing in dance contests or wearing goofy outfits, and Collison says it often depends on what kinds of stuff veterans went through during their own rookie seasons. Not everyone gets it easy though, as Collison relates in this story about teammate Royal Ivey‘s rookie season with the Hawks:
On road trips, Kevin Willis would call Royal’s room at 2 A.M. and say “Rook, I need you to go get me a carton of cigarettes.” Now, Kevin Willis didn’t smoke, but Royal still would have to get out of bed and find a convenience store to get him his cigarettes, then knock on his door and deliver them. All that Royal would get for his troubles was a “Thanks Rook,” as he watched the grinning veteran throw the cigarettes in the trash.
Man that is cold — and also hilarious. Take it from someone who was in a fraternity, the kinds of physical punishment (branding and paddling and whatnot) you think of when hazing comes to mind are dangerous and meanspirited, whereas mind games like this have way better payoffs and get you in much less trouble.
Well now, that didn’t take long. I was wondering how far into the 2011-12 season we’d get before someone got nice with the game-winner, and Kevin Durant decided five days was long enough. Works for me! Two straight years on the Horry Scale for KD, and I imagine many more to come.
For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Clippers-Nets game), and celebration, and give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys.
Let’s get this show on the road for the year and see how Kevin Durant rates:
For mere mortals, that’s a tough shot. For Durantula, the 30-foot-fading-turnaround is almost a layup at this point. Still, with only 1.4 seconds to release, and three Dallas defenders rushing at him (well, two Dallas defenders — what you watchin’ there Dirk?), that’s a pretty impressive make.
Vince Carter was nearly the hero tonight, as his 3-pointer gave the Mavericks the lead with under two ticks remaining. As soon as his shot went through, I checked to see how much time was left, saw 1.4, and said to myself, oooh, that’s a little too much clock for the Thunder. Not like VC could help it, but just sayin’.
It is early in the season, but I’m going to give this one pretty high marks for import. For starters, the Mavericks are the defending champs, and knocked the Thunder out of the postseason in the Western Conference Finals, so that’s a nice little payback shot for OKC. It’s no ring, but it’s a start. Secondly, in a season with only 66 games, every win counts a little bit more — and every loss you can give a potential playoff rival helps as well. The Thunder nearly gave this game away and allowed the Mavs, who had been blown out two straight games to start the season, to find a little rejuvenation. Instead, KD is a killer, and all you’ll see in the standings tomorrow is a 0 in the loss column for the team from Oklahoma.
The Thunder have terrific fans, so its no surprise to see them going hog wild. But what makes the celebration great to me is Royal Ivey, Durant’s fellow Texas alum (Hook ’em!), coming in at the end in a suit to serve as hype man for his incredible teammate.
4 Horrys. I’ve already watched this replay about 25 times, and I could watch it 25 more. The ball barely touches the net! Sometimes I give Durant a little grief for settling for long jump shots in these scenarios when he might get something a little easier near the basket, but tonight no such option was available. Didn’t seem to bother him too much, did it? Either way, I’m just glad to have the Horry Scale back.
What do you think?
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For the complete Bragging Rights rules and to vote for other matchups, click here. With 70% of the vote, the Washington Huskies defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 5-4 play-in game, and for their trouble they get the Kevin Durant-led Texas Longhorns. Let’s take a look:
Missed the cut: Damion James, Nets; Daniel Gibson, Cavaliers; Royal Ivey, Thunder; Dexter Pittman, Heat; Avery Bradley, Celtics
Team synopsis: A real title contender, with both Durant and Aldridge providing matchup problems for just about any potential opponent. Augustin is also having a breakout season in Charlotte. Ford is somewhat redundant with Augustin on the floor, but his track record is a little better than rookie Damion James. I could see an argument for James over Ford, but he hasn’t really played enough yet to cement a place over Ford or even Daniel Gibson. (more…)