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Pacers Rookies Rock Hello Kitty

Rookie hazing is rite of passage. Damjan Rudez and Shayne Whittington, the Pacers’ two first-year players, already were subjected to public embarrassment when they were forced to perform at the team’s annual FanJam event in October.

Both players embraced the moment, with Whittington gyrating his way through “Latch” and Rudez performing a show-stopping rendition of “Fancy”.

With the team on a two-game road trip in Texas, the Pacers’ veterans came up with another creative way to have a little fun with the rookies. An Instagram post shared by Whittington showed he and Rudez rocking matching Hello Kitty backpacks:

It's not what you wear.. It's how you wear it!

A photo posted by Shayne Whittington (@shaynewick21) on

For the most part, rookie duties consist mainly of making food runs and other errands. Earlier this year, Whittington and Rudez were asked to procure a cake for center Ian Mahinmi’s birthday:

I think @damorudez9 and I did pretty good with @ianou76 birthday cake last night.

A photo posted by Shayne Whittington (@shaynewick21) on

The Pacers’ veterans also find ways to occasionally get creative with their hazing, like they did with the Hello Kitty backpacks. But sometimes, the rookies set themselves up.

Damjan Rudez learned his lesson the hard way when he fell asleep on the team’s flight to Dallas on Tuesday. That made him an easy target for point guard George Hill, who had a little fun at the dozing Croatian’s expense, which forward Chris Copeland documented:

Rookie hazing lol… @indianageorge3 @damorudez9 and sunflower seeds…

Un vĂ­deo publicado por Chris Copeland (@optimuscope) el

Rudez doesn’t seem to be harboring any hard feelings, however. This afternoon, he tweeted this picture of the team celebrating last night’s win:

About The Author


Wheat Hotchkiss is in his third season with the Pacers' digital team. He is a lead writer and editor for and also oversees Wheat is a 2010 graduate of Davidson College, where he once scored on hallmate Steph Curry in a pickup game. Wheat also has a Master's in Sports Journalism from Indiana University's National Sports Journalism Center.

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