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SAN ANTONIO -- The Portland Trail Blazers found a surprise when they arrived in the visitors locker room at the AT&T Center before Thursday night's 114-97 loss in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.
Reserve forward Thomas Robinson discovered a snake in his locker a couple of hours before tip-off, spotting it when he placed his shoes in the cubby.
"I was scared," said Robinson, who added that he'd only seen snakes on Discovery Channel before. "I ain't gonna lie, I was scared."
Robinson reacted by screaming and leaping "about five feet high and 20 feet back."
Robinson wasn't the only player to admit he was spooked. Added Mo Williams on Twitter:
We get in the lockerroom n its a damn snake, yea a snake in the lockerroom. Man we was scared as hell http://t.co/zST2ivnxhJ- Mo Williams (@mowilliams) May 8, 2014
Reserve guard Will Barton, Robinson's neighbor in the locker room, claims he kept calm while hopping up on his chair. There was all kinds of commotion until "our brave trainers," as Robinson referred to them, corralled the beast.
The Blazers thought that it was a rattlesnake, but a Spurs official said the snake was determined to be non-poisonous before being safely released back into the wild.
Players said the snake's length was 3-to-4 feet, but the Blazers trainer estimated it at 18 inches. The snake was believed to be a baby.
"Big enough," Barton said.
Portland later tweeted a photo of the snake:
Trail Blazers greeted by rattlesnake in San Antonio locker room #RipCity READ || http://t.co/T1iLmIc6G6 pic.twitter.com/OhRpu9i87a- Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 8, 2014
The snake was black and white, the Spurs' colors, as Robinson noted. Rumor has it that Spurs shooting guard Danny Green collects snakes.
"That's the No. 1 suspect right there," Barton said, laughing.
This isn't the first incident with critters at the Spurs' arena, which hosts a huge rodeo each year. There have been several bat sightings during games at the AT&T Center, most infamously when Spurs sixth man Manu Ginobili swatted one out of the air with his bare hand while on the court on Halloween in 2009, when the bat caused play to be stopped and players to scatter.
Ginobili got a thunderous cheer from the crowd when he carried the bat off the court, but it wasn't such a humorous situation when he had to get rabies shots later.
The Blazers managed to emerge from the snake sighting unharmed.
"It's bizarre to have a venomous snake in your locker room," Portland coach Terry Stotts said. "I don't know if it's happened before. That sounds like an ABA story."