Perhaps a sign of the veteran Lakers going soft in old age, the team’s lone rookie in Austin Reaves hasn’t been the subject of much in the way of hazing. There are the daily rookie duties that come standard with basically every franchise across the league, but that has served as effectively his lone responsibilities as the newcomer.
At least since Rajon Rondo was traded.
No one has ever accused Rondo of going soft and there are few personalities as singular in the league as Rondo’s. No rookie on his team was going to get away without being hazed, but it was going to be done in a uniquely Rondo way. By buying candles. Scented candles. On the road.
After earning the first start of his career against the Clippers out of the All-Star break, Reaves spoke to the media at practice the next day and said there was no special hazing for the moment. Asked if he’d received any hazing this year, Reaves only pointed out Rondo.
“So Rondo was the one that really made me do a lot of the stuff, and ever since he left it’s kind of chilled out a little bit,” Reaves said. “I mean, I have my daily stuff, like getting towels and stuff like that, but it’s nothing crazy. I won’t complain.”
What was it Rondo made him do?
“Just go get him stuff. Whatever he needed.”
The problem? Reaves doesn’t have a car. Not that it would matter, because Rondo was making him do it on the road anyway.
“It was mostly on the road,” Reaves said. “Like when we landed somewhere I had to go get him candles, oh, I don’t know, random stuff.”
Fortunately, Rondo was a simple man with simple scented tastes.
“Some vanilla, honestly,” Reaves said of Rondo’s preference. “I don’t think it really mattered.”
Honestly, it’s the perfect type of rookie hazing. Anyone who has flown, regardless of if it’s on a private plane or not, knows that once you land and get to your hotel, you just want to relax, maybe grab some food and watch TV the rest of the night.
Being forced to order an Uber to a Target or Walmart or some other store to find scented candles, of all things? Diabolical in a way that only Rondo could really do.
Prior to his departure, Rondo spoke highly of Reaves, even before he began truly breaking out and eventually earning a starting role. During the preseason, both Rondo praised Reaves and his willingness and eagerness to learn and the attention to detail he was already paying. Rondo was rather clearly a fan of Reaves’ game during his time in Los Angeles.
He was also, clearly, a fan of the candles he bought as well.