There really is nothing like rookie initiation.
With all the pressure that comes with performing as a first-year player in the NBA, there isn't always an opportunity to let your personality shine through. Grinding to try and solidify a spot in the rotation, a role on the team or even a full-time contract can take away from truly being yourself and letting loose.
That's where rookie initiation breaks players in as the new guys get to showcase the fun side of their personality.
Wait, who am I kidding? This is more about the veteran players on the team getting to rag on their younger teammates, something to poke fun at for the rest of their tenure with the team. And this initiation did not disappoint.
Directed by who other than team leader Kyle Lowry, Raptors rookies Malachi Flynn and Freddie Gillespie had to perform - to quote Lowry - "the greatest song in the history of songs." That song? "Party In the USA" by Miley Cyrus. Unfortunately, Toronto's other rookie Jalen Harris missed his performance as he is still dealing with a hip injury. It is to be determined if he'll have to provide the team with a solo show once he returns.
Mawnin', fam.- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 23, 2021
Just gonna drop this here to make sure you guys have a blessed Friday.
Enjoy 😂 pic.twitter.com/K8q2leusyH
Both rookies looked tight before they got going, but Fred VanVleet had the perfect remedy for his rook "Red VanVleet," with the Drake shoulder rub that was proven to work some magic during that 2019 Finals run.
Once the stage crew (and by stage crew, I just mean Chris Boucher with a floor mop) cleared the way for their performance, it was time to cue the music.
But before they could even get going, Pascal had to let us know how he really feels about "Party In the USA."
pic.twitter.com/fbz1SfgTYa- Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) April 23, 2021
Flynn and Gillespie were off from there, but you're telling me they really needed a lyrics sheet to sing along with "Party In the USA?" You know the lyrics, you aren't fooling anyone.
DeAndre' Bembry was asking for more high notes, but it's clear he never heard former Raptor big man Jared Sullinger and standout Ohio State guards Aaron Craft and Jon Diebler's version of "Party In the USA" from back in college. Trust me, DeAndre', the less high notes, the better.
By the time they got to the chorus, the whole team was singing along, and you couldn't stop Freddie-Two, you could only hope to contain him.
pic.twitter.com/XJL2n231pv- Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) April 23, 2021
It's impossible not to smile ear-to-ear while watching the video. But in a world where you can't just appreciate greatness, you have to compare it, how'd they stack up against VanVleet, Siakam and Jakob Poeltl's rookie initiation from 2016?
The @Raptors rookies singing tonight at #RapsCitySocial @RealSports pic.twitter.com/herLM7J4BI- Best of Toronto (@BestOfTorontoTV) November 8, 2016
Again, lyrics sheets for "A Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton? I'm pretty sure those lyrics are embedded in our brains at birth. We never had a choice. And speaking of Sullinger, he couldn't help but chime in in the back of that video. But the performance as a whole lacked the showmanship of Gillespie and Flynn.
I'm giving my vote to the new guys.
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