David Ruffin’s legacy is firmly planted as one where talents were only overmatched by demons and whether or not the controversial Temptation ever truly reached his full potential. Well, that and Leon Robinson’s brilliant portrayal and one-of-a-kind rant in the Hollywood adaption of the group.
Give credit to Leon, too. Never painted in the light of a blockbuster A-list actor in the vein of Denzel or Will Smith, his catalog is still chocked full of quality films in the ilk of The Five Heartbeats, Above The Rim and Waiting To Exhale. Here, Robinson channeled the ghost of Ruffin for a rant I’m sure probably happened at one point or another as the cocaine became too much for Ruffin to handle the the rest of the group to accept. That’s the thing though. Cocaine mixed with alcohol fused with talent, cockiness and army full of “yes-men” has never ended well in the history of life.
Back to the rant, however. Outside of probably Bishop’s locker scene in Juice, Alonzo’s street scene in Training Day and one or two others I’m obviously forgetting at the moment, Ruffin’s reaction to being excommunicated was nothing short of resplendent. In fact, similar to how it was The Mack, I’m giving it its own Notable Qutoable off the strength there’s a 97% chance Kobe Bryant said all these things to his teammates during his Smush Parker years given what we know now.
1. “Boy, Norman just kept whippin’ us and whippin’ us the other day, huh? I don’t think I can get any better though.”
Notes: Just replace Norman with Phil.
2. “Well maybe I don’t need as much rehearsal as some other folks.”
Notes: This was definitely said after his 81-point game. I’m sure of it.
3. “Hurting the group? I’m the best thing that ever happened to this damn group.”
Notes: One of the staples of cocky statements which will never be topped. Not even by Kobe Bean, himself.
4. “Y’all ain’t stupid. I’m the one selling the records.”
Notes: To Kobe’s credit, he was the one putting butts in seats in the Staples Center during those mid-2000 years. So I’ll allow this one.
5. “Matter of fact, I been thinking. We should call the group ‘David Ruffin & The Temptations’.”
Notes: Oh, this was definitely brought up for consideration.
…and the heavyweight champion of them all…
6. Ruffin: “They comin’ to see me.”
Otis: “They’re coming to see The Temptations.”
Ruffin: “AIN’T NOBODY COMIN’ TO SEE YOU, OTIS! You wish you could work it the way I work it. But you can’t because there is only one David Ruffin! And without him, The Temps ain’t nothing but a group in search of a David Ruffin.”
Notes: Not even going out on a limb, that quote is probably the most famous from the entire miniseries and for good reason. I’m sure of this. And I’m also sure Kobe made sure his teammates knew this very same logic. Seriously, replace “Temptations” with “Lakers” and “Otis” with “Smush, or Kwame, or Chris Mihm.”
I swear you’d never even know the difference.