Professional sports teams have evolved in many ways, from how teams manage player rest to the introduction of new strategies and tactics on the field of play. In one area, though, teams and athletes have stayed decidedly old-fashioned — the hazing and shaming of rookies in a public forum. Each individual team settles on its own method of embarrassment, but it's a safe bet that everyone will do something to demean rookies. Shame has never been so hilarious!
The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten in on the act this season, forcing rookies to push children's baby dolls around in strollers. Take a look at Tarik Black and Jordan Clarkson taking care of their fake offspring here:
In isolation, this hazing is not especially notable — plenty of teams will do similar things over the course of the season. What makes the Lakers different is that head coach Byron Scott, not a veteran player, seems to be the driving force behind the efforts. From Kurt Helin for ProBasketballTalk:
“Absolutely…” Scott confirmed when asked if it was his idea. “They are in charge of bringing them to every home game, making sure they are right by their locker, that the baby is not crying or anything like that, then after the game take them home. My only concern is the will go in the family room, there are so many kids there they might try to take their babies. So they have to watch their babies, then on game days on the road they have to wear baby backpacks.”
Scott has been criticized at various points this season for holding decidedly retrograde views of proper on-court strategy, and I suppose it's possible to view his considerable interest in fake child-rearing qualifies as more of the same. From another perspective, though, this is really weird. It would be one thing if Scott was just focused on making sure the players wore backpacks when they were supposed, but he seems very interested in proper childcare at all times. It's as if he was meant to be a high school health teacher grading at-risk youth on how they took care of their bag-of-flour babies.
So stay alert, Clarkson and Black. You never know when Byron Scott will show up at your house in the middle of the night to ensure that your fake baby is tucked in. They are the Lakers' future, after all.
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