A snake in the Blazers' locker room
SAN ANTONIO -- The Trail Blazers expected the San Antonio Spurs to come up with some new tricks for Thursday night's Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series at AT&T Center.
But a rattlesnake in the visitors' locker room?
Two hours prior to game time, Thomas Robinson had sat down to undress and don his playing gear when he leaned over to put his shoes into a drawer beneath his locker.
"I put my shoes into the cubbie, looked down, and I seen what I thought I seen," Portland's second-year forward said.
A black and white rattlesnake -- Spurs' colors, mind you.
"Three to four feet long," Robinson said.
Robinson jumped up and reacted as most people would.
"I gasped. I screamed. I yelled," he said.
"I was the only one who kept my calm," deadpanned Will Barton, lockering next to Robinson.
Robinson got the attention of teammates who were in the locker room, "but it took me a couple of minutes before everybody would believe me. Everybody thought I was playing, so they came over and looked for themselves."
Security personnel "told me to get away from it -- it's a rattlesnake."
Robinson complied. Had he ever seen a snake before?
"Nah, I'm a city boy," the Washington D.C., native said. "I'm scared of stuff like that. The locker room, that's the last place (you'd expect it)."
Could somebody have set up Robinson?
"You don't set someone up with a rattlesnake," Portland coach Terry Stotts said, laughing. "A rubber snake, maybe.
"It's bizarre to have a venomous snake in your locker room. I don't know if it's happened before. Sounds like an ABA story."
Trainer Geoff Clark, who estimated the snake's length as "about two feet," had an explanation.
"We're in Texas," Clark said. "There's stockyards. Cattle. (Rattlesnakes) are all over."
Robinson was still shaking his head over the incident an hour before game time.
"I'm telling Will, 'That's a sign,' " Robinson said, grinning. "He don't believe me."
Good sign, or bad?
"We'll find out tonight," he said.