There comes a time for every NBA rookie to officially be initiated into the team by meeting the demands of their veteran teammates with no questions asked. Each team has its own unique way of doing things, with the Toronto Raptors' go-to choice being karaoke.
For Raptors rookies Malachi Flynn and Freddie Gillespie, that moment came on Friday as the team gathered on the practice court for the time-honoured tradition and forced the two freshmen to sing “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus — “the greatest song in the history of songs,” as decreed by Toronto legend Kyle Lowry.
At the behest of Lowry and Fred VanVleet, both rookies had to sing and dance in a moment that is reminiscent of an open practice with VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Norman Powell and Jakob Poeltl during their initiation in 2016.
While they both started off rough, Gillespie eventually took advantage of the moment and embraced his inner popstar, breaking out an array of dance moves as his teammates hyped him up and joined in as well.
As for Flynn, he’s probably glad the moment’s over but less keen with it being immortalized online.
Both players have been key contributors for the Raptors of late. Flynn, the 29th overall pick in 2020, has taken advantage of his opportunity with both VanVleet and Lowry missing time recently, capped by a career night against the Atlanta Hawks in which he almost single-handedly led the Raptors to a wild comeback win. Gillespie, who signed his second 10-day deal last Sunday, has helped solidify the centre position for the Raptors, averaging 6.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 17.4 minutes of court time.
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