We will not be visiting Michael Ruffin’s house. As a matter of fact, we probably won’t visit 99.9% of any NBAers’ houses, be they past or present athletes. (Our only hope is tripping over Chris Andersen’s cardboard box in an alley, really.) But we’re going to make a specific point not to visit the Ruffin residence. In fact, you should too, because what’s there can probably kill you.
That’s because, according to BEHIND THE BEAT or whatever THE OREGONIAN calls their Blazers blog, Ruffin has animals. Lots of ‘em. Weird ones. And say what you will about the joy of adventure or whatever, but when it comes to sharing a domicile with a tarantula… we’ll just err on the side of “no chance of a giant spider sinking its teeth into our face” and say “no.”
Not all of Ruffin’s pets are weird - they include three dogs, some ferrets, and a hamster (what, to feed the tarantula?) - but to call his overall tastes “exotic” is, to say the least, an understatement:
“I like things that are unique,” he said. “I like dogs; it’s nice to have a dog and a cat and different things like that. But I like reptiles and things that are a little more unique. There’s a wide array of looks when it comes to reptiles and amphibians, and (I like) feeding them.”
You know what he feeds them? Children, probably. Remember growing up and there was always that one really weird dude around the block that none of the kids liked and who had way too many animals and you were pretty sure the animals would revolt and rip him asunder as he slept? Michael Ruffin is that guy! And if you doubt us, read on, please:
Over the years, Ruffin’s animal collection has been so extensive he can’t remember how many “pets” he’s actually owned. But his best guess is roughly 100.
There have been hedgehogs, African bullfrogs, countless snakes — including boa constrictors and pythons — a wide array of lizards, salamanders and chameleons. There have been caimans (small crocodiles), unusual fish, and dozens of more ordinary animals, such as dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and hamsters.
Forget Dr. Doolittle, Ruffin’s starting to remind us of Dr. Moreau. Who’s to say he’s not trying to mate the crocodiles and the fish, making a crocodile that can swim? Terrifying! And yet, he tells the reporter that he has “contemplated opening up some kind of small pet zoo or museum when his career is over.” IT’S LIKE A MINIATURE JURASSIC PARK! EVERYONE RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!
Sorry, we got a bit carried away. Actually, the funniest part is that he says his wife “has ‘kind of gotten used to’ his hobby.” No. This is what the experts call “lying to you because you are rich and you own an unthinking, uncaring animal army.” She’s not getting used to anything; she’s just trying to survive. Hang in there, Mistye. We’re all praying for you.