Last Friday the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams about bullying and hazing in the locker room, undoubtedly a response to the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal involving Richie Incognito. The details of the memo include bans on verbal abuse, defacement of personal property and shaming/embarrassing players, via Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
According to the report, the NBA's list of violations includes: any physical abuse or threats of violence; verbal abuse focused on an individual's race, nationality, color, gender, age, religion, sexuality, etc.; destruction, defacement or theft of a fellow player's personal property; engaging in any activity that intimidates or threatens fellow players with ostracism or inflicts extreme mental stress, embarrassment, humiliation or shame; and forcing an individual to engage in any activity or perform any task that violates federal, state or local law or NBA rules and regulations.
The report said the league also prohibits "requiring an individual to unreasonably pay for meals, travel, entertainment expenses, goods or services that are being solely enjoyed by others."
While we haven't had any indication that the NBA has a bullying problem that even approaches what the NFL is currently dealing with, It is common for rookies to have to deal with light hazing. The most common example: as part of their "rookie duties," they're forced to wear backpacks bearing the likenesses of cartoon characters such as Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer. Now, though, it looks like that will be phased out, via Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:
Timberwolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad said team President Chris Wright and GM Milt Newton informed players they no longer wanted rookies wearing child-themed backpacks. Muhammad had been issued a Jonas Brothers backpack to wear on trips.
This doesn't mean that hazing will be eliminated entirely but it does show that the league cares about the issue. Frankly, the whole backpack thing got tiresome years ago. There will surely still be some remaining rookie rituals we don't hear about, but we likely won't see any more cars full of popcorn endorsed by official NBA social media accounts. Good news for the incoming rookies.
(h/t Ball Don't Lie)