Pacers rookie Cassius Stanley's car gets popcorn'd by veterans after 'not really listening'
The Pacers' second-round pick was slacking on his rookie duties and he paid the price Monday at 1:40 a.m.
By 1:40 a.m. ET Monday morning, the Pacers were on the ground at Indianapolis International Airport. Returning from Memphis, where they captured their third straight victory, Cassius Stanley had no idea what he was in store for.
The folks at the parking lot take good care of the team so that when they arrive, their vehicles are good to go. If it has snowed, it is cleared off. If it’s cold, they’ll have vehicles running and warm by the time they walk off their Delta charter flight.
When Stanley, the Pacers’ rookie, arrived at his blue BMW, he had to know something was up. Team captain Malcolm Brogdon had his phone out recording and other team members were nearby waiting, watching.
“We got a rookie that’s not really listening so he’s got a little something (in his car),” Brogdon shared in a video posted to his Instagram. “My man can jump out of the gym but he can’t get towels after games. He ain’t really coming in on off days working out. Oof, it’s about to be nice. Let’s see what he has waiting.”
Stanley’s ride had been loaded with salty popcorn. Not just in one seat or the front, but all over. He saw it and then walked the other way in the parking lot clearly agitated. Of course he was.
“He’s hot. He ain’t even say nothing, he just walked away,” Brogdon said, laughing. “Look at all this popcorn. He be chronicling those Duke days, I hope he puts this on Instagram too.
“I think he might need a ride home, might need to detail this tomorrow.”
The worst thing for Stanley was that Myles Turner wasn’t on the trip due to a left ankle sprain, so he was able to execute the plan. He’s also the longest-tenured Pacer, drafted in 2015 and playing for both Frank Vogel and Nate McMillan before Nate Bjorkgren this season.
They did the same thing to center Goga Bitadze last season, only that time it was to his new car in his parking spot at the team’s training facility. At the airport was a buttery mess.
Newcomers to the NBA often have rookie duties. It’s not nearly what it once was, especially right now with the ongoing pandemic. Brogdon has been having Stanley do basic tasks like getting him shower towel after each practice, and Turner once had him pick up toothpaste and a toothbrush. And he’s often instructed to bring food to the plane — like Chipotle, Kilroy’s breadsticks or Long’s donuts.
“I was never really penalized,” Doug McDermott said, “I had a lot more chores than these guys have these days. We’re very easy on the rookies here.
“When I was in Chicago, I had some vets that made me do a lot of errands, but they usually paid me pretty well so I was more than fine with doing it. Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler, those guys — I definitely had some duties. I picked up a lot of Chipotle, a lot of iPhone chargers and it didn’t matter if it was 45 minutes away, I still had to do it.
“Those are memories I always have and I was never late for a plane or a bus so I never really got popcorn’d or anything.”
Stanley lucked out because there was no Pacers FanJam, where rookies wear a costume given to them and sing in front of about 10,000 fans.
T.J. McConnell signed with the 76ers in 2015 after going undrafted.
“Fortunately, that never happened to me,” he said with a big smile. “I feel like I didn’t have a car until my second year anyway, so that was kind of impossible unless they wanted to do it in an Uber that I would take to the game. It’s tough, it’s a slippery slope when it comes to that type of stuff.
“It’s all in fun and games. Obviously, I feel bad for the youngster, but hopefully whatever he did to have that happen to him he’ll listen.”
Later Monday, Brogdon shared the video and said “Team building” — something they haven’t been able to do in traditional ways because of health and safety protocols.
This is good for a laugh, unless you’re Stanley, who arrived for practice Monday afternoon using a different mode of transportation.
A Bird scooter.
And here’s an illustration a fan drew up of Turner slyly filling Stanley’s car at the airport parking lot.