Clifford Ray Greases Up For Marine Life

We proudly present perhaps the most bizarre sports story we've come across that didn't involve Fred Smoot.

Here's the setup: TrueHoop impresario Henry Abbott yesterday called out for a reader to help him with a fading, borderline insane memory from a reader:

When I was a kid ('70's) I recall reading/hearing about some sort of incident at a zoo in the Bay Area in which an animal was in distress, having swallowed something it shouldn't have, and that [former Warriors player] Clifford Ray was called to reach his long arm into the animal and retrieve the object. My colleague says I'm an idiot for believing that ever happened. Did I dream this? Can you help?

We read this yesterday and figured, well, Abbott's kind some hallucinating readers. And then, today, someone came up with an answer, and it blew our minds:

A bottle-nosed dolphin at Marine World USA in California swallowed a three-inch bolt accidentally left in its tank. When a veterinarian could not reach the bolt in the dolphin s stomach, professional basketball player Clifford Ray volunteered to try. He cut his fingernails, greased his arm (which is three feet, nine inches long), reached down through the dolphin s mouth, grabbed the bolt, and pulled it out.

That's right: He greased his arm and reached down a deep hole. Maybe this story isn't as different from Fred Smoot's as we thought.

Did Clifford Ray Save A Large Zoo Animal? [TrueHoop]
A Year Of Vocabulary [Susan O'Haninan]