Why doctors asked an NBA player to stick his arm into a dolphin


– [Seth] In 1978, an NBA player
saved the life of a dolphin by reaching directly into its stomach. – [Ryan] Like during a game? (all laughing) – So, 1978, there’s a zoo
in Redwood City, California called Marine World. It was like a zoo-aquarium complex thing. They have a bottlenose dolphin named, depending where you look,
(dolphin noises) either Mr. Spock or Dr. Spock. I don’t know whether it was named after the pediatrician or
the Star Trek character. – Okay. – Some workers were doing
maintenance on Mr. Spock’s tank and a screw came loose and the dolphin immediately dove down and ate it, I guess thinking it was a fish. – Sure, as one does. – As one does. So, as you might imagine,
having a screw in its stomach is not good news for a dolphin and especially if it had
been swimming around, the screw might sorta rattle in there and do some internal damage. So, they pulled the
dolphin out of the water, took it to the hospital, and
they tried to get it out. They considered surgery, but I guess determined that
would be too dangerous. They had some big,
expensive $10,000 instrument that they tried to use to reach in there, but I guess it wasn’t dexterous
enough to grab the screw, so someone tried just
reaching in with their hand. – So, this poor dolphin just got stuff jammed down its throat.
– Yeah. This dolphin, by the way,
is wide awake and is like, “Well, this is not great. “I’m not gonna eat that
kind of fish again”. – [Kofie] Worst operation game ever. – So, after the person
reached their arm in and determined their
arm wasn’t long enough, a publicist for the zoo had an idea. The publicist thought, “My friend is Clifford Ray”. Clifford Ray you might know now as, he was an assistant on the Celtics when they won the
championship a few years ago. He’s a gigantic assistant
coach/consultant for teams, now. But at the time, in the
70’s, he was on the Warriors. He was like a big defensive center. 6’9, with like a
seven-plus foot wing span. The Warriors are on the road,
I think out east right now. But, he just happens to have
a knee injury and be at home. “Why don’t I give this dude a call?” And so they called
Clifford Ray and they said, “Listen, we need someone
with super long arms “to reach into this dolphin’s mouth “and, in fact, all the
way into its stomach “to retrieve a screw.” – You can’t really say no to that, ’cause there’s only so many tall people that you can call.
– Yeah, I kinda figured that in the whole Bay area, he was probably the most qualified person. – Sure.
– So, anyway, he said, “Yes, got nothing
better to do that day”. He showed up at the hospital. They put some scrubs on him. They clipped his fingernails, which is thoughtful.
– Good. – They lubed up his arm with Vaseline or KY Jelly or something.
– So good, yeah, this is sounding really special.
(Kofie laughs) – They had some sort of
specialist veterinarian speaking to him over the phone on like an intercom or
something to kind of guide him. And they had two technicians
hold the dolphin’s jaws open. Dolphin’s not gonna bite your arm off, but you don’t wanna get bit by a dolphin. They pumped the dolphin’s stomach, which I guess didn’t remove the
screw, just everything else, and he went in there. He had about three minutes
’cause dolphin’s need to breathe. They’re not fish. But, after two minutes up to his shoulder inside of a dolphin, he
came out with the screw. – Oh, my goodness gracious. – And it was in the papers the next day. He was a hero. He returned to playing with the Warriors like a couple days later
and it’s a happy story. The dolphin went on to
live a long, normal life. – He lived long and prospered. – Ooh.
– Hey, nice, nice. – Wait, so I gotta know, I gotta know what that phone call must have been like, where they were like, “Hey, is this Clifford Ray? “Hey, it’s the zoo”. – Thankfully, it sounds like
someone actually knew him. It was legitimately like he
had a friend that worked there in PR.
– That’s the craziest “I know a guy” in history. – “Oh, I know the tallest
person in the county. “I’ll call him”. So, I don’t wanna put
any onus on you, Ryan. – [Ryan] Sure. – But, you are what? 6’5, 6’6?
– I am 6’5, 6’6-ish, yeah. – You are not as tall or
long-armed as an NBA center, but you’re a large guy.
– [Ryan] I got the goods. – Let’s say you had that– Actually, let’s say you had
exactly this opportunity. – I would love it. I would lose my mind. – Let’s say–
– Hypothetically. – Hypothetically, some animal needs you to reach into his
stomach and they’re like, “We need our tallest boy. “The Knicks and the Nets “are all too s****y to help with this. “We need Ryan Simmons. – Yeah. – You would say yes? – Absolutely. Most of my time is
spent avoiding obstacles or like hitting my head or
generally being in the way. So, the opportunity to like
help out in some way, hell yeah! I would love that. As a matter of fact, hearing this story, I kind of wanna just roam
around Coney Island Aquarium and just be like “Hey, you guys
need any screws extracted?” – So, when you are a hero
to a dolphin at a zoo, you get some things. He got a plaque. I don’t know if it had
the actual screw on it or just like a replica screw, but it’s apparently at his family’s home, and, and this is my favorite thing, he got a tiger cub named
after him at the zoo. – Oh, word.
– Would not have guessed that. – I think that’s really awesome and I would do almost anything. – That’s incredible. If you were given the opportunity, would you rather them
name the cub after you or be given the
opportunity to name the cub whatever you want, like blank slate style? – Okay, so the tiger
cub is either named Seth or I get to name it like– – [Ryan] Dr. Awesome, or something. (chuckling) I don’t know. – I think it would be cool to go to a zoo and see a tiger named Seth. – [Seth] Well, so I was gonna– – Like, “There goes “Seth, the tiger”
– Specifically the name Seth is kind of funny for an animal. – Sure. – Like if you have a
tiger that sounds like it had a Bar Mitzvah at some point, then– – You got Tony the Tiger,
you got Seth the Tiger. – Yeah, it’s just not
a very ferocious animal kind of name.
(Kofie laughs) It does make one wonder, if you were an athlete is
this a viable side gig? You know? – Yeah, like if I could
make 50 bucks a pop, just going around town grabbing s*** off of
high shelves for people, I absolutely would do that. – Yeah, I’d be a nice linebacker on Sunday and then have my own moving company. – Yeah, absolutely.
– You could put up a flyer with the little dangly
things at the bottom, like put it up at the
public library, just like, “Hey, I’m really tall and have long arms” – Yeah, will grab for food.
– For cash. – For cash. What was the rest of
this guy’s career like? – Played a couple more years in the NBA, became an assistant coach, he has a lifetime pass to that zoo. – Oh, good. – [ Seth] Well, I guess the
zoo doesn’t exist anymore, but he had a lifetime pass to the zoo. – Too many animals kept eating screws. – (laughing) Yeah. There were screws everywhere. – I also like that we spend a lot of time talking about how smart dolphins are and yet, they’re just running around eating pieces of metal
that float in their tank. Can’t be that smart. – We respect the intelligence and agency of dolphins on That’s Weird. – I’ll say it, I think
they’re dumb as s***.

100 thoughts on “Why doctors asked an NBA player to stick his arm into a dolphin

  1. Everyone involved went on to bigger and better things.
    The screw would continue its career in marine life, on television, being dropped into tuna by Kel Mitchell.

  2. Please do a rewinder on the 2008 F1 finale in Brazil. Winning the title on the last turn of the last lap of the last race, can't get any more dramatic than that!

  3. this doesn’t sound real, conspiracy theory the dolphins wanted to just meet an NBA player as a make a wish foundation for dolphins they told him that they needed to get this screw out

  4. Imagine being the dolphin and just watching this massive human lube up his massive arm, knowing full well that thing is going directly down your throat

  5. "there's only so many tall people, you have to do it".
    (Yeah, that's why basketball is a carnival freak show, not a sport).

  6. Marine World still exists. It moved and is now a Six Flags park. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_World/Africa_USA

  7. PSA : MarineLand is a slaughterhouse not a "Zoo". Kinda need to keep it real there. These animals are slaving their lives away. And they're not even getting paid a cent

  8. The crazy thing is that this isn't the only time this has happened. Same thing went down again in 2006: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/16203273/ns/world_news-wonderful_world/t/worlds-tallest-man-saves-dolphins-china/#.XfPVM4NKi00

  9. Hoping to go to vet school one day, so when I see this, it makes me smile. That’s a pretty awesome story. Props to him. Now it brings the question- who would they use nowadays? Giannis?

  10. Craziest thing is that this happens kind of often. The tallest man in the world Bao Xishun has saved two dolphins in China by doing the exact same thing. Dolphins need to stop swallowing garbage, for real

  11. Future That's Weird ideas:
    -An NHL team once drafted a fake player as a joke (Taro Tsujimoto, 1974);
    -The NHL once nearly bungled a draft lottery thanks to their nearsighted president (1970);
    -The NHL's formation was solely to spite a curmudgeonly team owner (Eddie Livingstone, 1917);
    -An NHL team was able to resign their captain thanks to the surprise success of a movie (Joe Sakic & Air Force One, 1997)
    -The NBA's most unique player had more career blocks than points (Manute Bol)

    (hm, thought I had more, oh well)

  12. You should do a video about where Harrison Butker hit a 50 something yard field goal against the Vikings tied at 23 in 2019

  13. "Let's say hypothetically some animal needs you to reach into its stomach"
    (sketches a gator)
    Why you hate the guy so much😂😂😂

  14. This is a story you tell over and over again during Christmas and Thanksgiving.

    "Uncle Cliff, tell us about the time you saved a dolphin!"
    "Aw, shucks, you don't wanna hear that."
    "Please, Uncle Clifford!"
    "Okay, okay, so it started when a Dolphin named Mr Spock …"

  15. In case anyone cares, the place where the zoo was is now inhabited by Oracle. Sadly, I couldn't go to this zoo as a kid since I was too young when it closed.

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