Lee used to tag along with his grandfather, whom he called Desi, as did everybody else. The zoo caretakers would allow them to perform certain chores, including feeding the lions and jaguars — just as long as they did not become part of the meal. "They’d warn him, ‘These are wild animals; if you get too close they could kill you just like that,’ " Lee recalled. His grandfather loved working near the big cats, just a few inches from danger. "Wild stuff," the grandson said. "He would really push the envelope, with a big smile on his face."This George Vescey piece on David Lee's late grandfather is excellent. It's very, very clear where Dave got his drive from, and completely unsurprising that he's descended from a friend of the jungle cats.