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  • In the latest episode of the HOLDAT Podcast, Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson dish advice to NBA rookies on how they can avoid being hazed, including one golden rule involving Matt Barnes.
By The SI Staff
March 19, 2018

Life as an NBA rookie isn't easy. You're adapting to a new game, new schedule, new teammates, new city, new lifestyle and a whole lot more—all on the fly. But there's another challenge first–year players have to deal with that often goes unnoticed: Rookie chores. 

In the latest episode of the HOLDAT Podcast, Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson discuss what life was like as an NBA rookie, including running errands for Stephon Marbury and buying donuts for team veterans. While both Boozer and Robinson dutifully filled their chores, there was one time Nate-Rob clapped back when then-Knicks teammate Matt Barnes pulled off a rookie prank. Find out what happened to Robinson (and Barnes) as their Prank War spiraled out of control.

(The following transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

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Nate Robinson: Rookies, man. Don't be bigger than the game. Don't think you're the hot mess because, guess what? Everyone has been in your shoes. Everyone has been that guy. So just humble yourself. The rookie hazing is not that bad unless you’re just a bad rookie and you’re not listening.

Carlos Boozer: Yeah, a jerk.

Robinson: Yeah. A Jerk. You’re going to have those vets that put popcorn in your car. I played on teams with guys like Matt Barnes, who [laughs]…now Matt Barnes is one of my greatest teammates ever.

Boozer: Great friend.

Robinson: Great, cool, humble guy. Talked a lot of crap. He was funny. But prankster? If you don’t listen to Matt Barnes and do what he says, this guy is the worst when it comes to pranking. We had a few back-and-forths, pranking on each other. I remember one time he put salt in my ice cream.

Boozer: [Laughs].

Robinson: And I was eating it, this was my rookie year, and I said, “Damn, this ice cream tastes kind of funny.” And I’m laughing. And I’m asking people, “Is this diet ice cream? What’s up with this ice cream?” And they’re like, “Nah, this is regular ice cream.” And I’m like, "This is nasty!" But you know, me being a young guy I just ate it anyway, not caring or anything. And everyone is like, “Oh, he’s a fool. He ate the nasty ice cream.” So I just kept eating it and ate something else, and [Barnes] just kept messing with my food. So, when I found out that he did that, I said, “Alright, that was Matt? Cool.” So one day, I put Ex–Lax in his milk. He was eating cereal on the plane, and he was having to take craps on the plane. And on our team, we didn’t take that kindly, it was a rule: No using the the bathroom on the plane. So I put Ex–Lax in Matt Barnes’s milk so he was taking craps the whole time on our flight.

When he found out I did that, we were playing a game, and he put cream cheese under the soles of my shoes. When we were on the Knicks, we had to wear suits everyday. So I’m walking in my dress shoes and I slipped. And I looked down to see if I slipped on a banana peel or something or if there was water on the floor. And I just kept slipping. I get to the plane, I had black socks on and everything, and my whole socks are white. I said, “Man, what is on my socks?!” And I looked at Matt and he’s crying tears, cracking up. And I looked down and I tasted it. “Cream cheese?!” He ripped the soles out of my shoes and put cream cheese in the bottom of my shoes and put the soles back on. I said, “Bro, this guy is crazy.”

Boozer: [Laughs] I have never heard that before!

Robinson: He’s crazy, bro. Shout out to Matt Barnes, man.

Boozer: One time for Matt Barnes!

Robinson: Matt Barnes is one of the best/worst teammates ever. Like I said, rookies, just do what you’re supposed to do or you’re going to have guys like Matt Barnes cutting the buttons off your shirt, putting cream cheese in your shoes or salt in your ice cream. Don’t mess with anybody that’s a prankster. Please don’t.

Subscribe to the HOLDAT Podcast to hear new episodes each week and more NBA tales from Robinson and Boozer.

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