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One More Assist from John Stockton to Karl Malone

Ross Siler of the Salt Lake Tribune published a great story over the weekend about rookie hazing in the NBA. Included are several tales of rookies being made to do various chores like fetching Lithuanian newspapers, turning down the veteran's hotel beds, and singing in public.

When money is involved, you can feel the tension of being a rookie, in some cases not having received their first paycheck, hanging out with multimillionaires.

Siler writes:

To this day, Jarron Collins remains grateful for the favor John Stockton did for him as a rookie. The Jazz were in Toronto to play a preseason game, and Collins joined a group of veteran teammates for breakfast at the Four Seasons hotel.

When the bill came, Karl Malone announced: "Young fella's paying for it." The problem was Collins had yet to cash his first NBA paycheck. "I was thinking to myself, 'Young guy doesn't have it,'" Collins recalled.

He considered putting the bill on his credit card and paying it off later when Stockton came to his rescue.

"I was sitting next to Stock and he whispered to me, 'Just put down my room number,'" Collins said. "So I put down his room number and he paid it for me. That was a really nice thing that he did for me. That was the one I got away from, and I appreciated it."

There is a similar story about such a thing happening to Ronnie Price as a rookie in Sacramento. But after the season was over and Price had paid for various things, Mike Bibby reportedly gave Price a wad of cash that more than made up for it.