Struggling rooks can still succeed

Originally Published: January 17, 2014
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

The NBA season is a slog. The injury bug plaguing the league right now is just one example of the toll it takes. But for rookies, oftentimes the best place to find solace and comfort is on the court, because many of the obstacles they face come before they even begin to compete against the game's best players.

We see their first steps into this new world during summer league and training camps, where the "hazing" often begins with the "Dora the Explorer" and "Hello Kitty" backpacks they are forced to wear. They are also "asked" to do favors for veterans, like bring doughnuts to practices. Not surprisingly, rookies rarely complain about these indignities; after all, it's part of a tradition they are excited to be a part of. The jokes get old fast, but it is not really a distraction for the overwhelming majority.


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