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Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pollard always has been his own man

October 26, 2006

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— Some athletes work hard to attract attention.

Others, such as Scot Pollard, literally are born with the quality.

On Feb. 12, 1975, the Cavaliers' backup forward checked into the world at 13 pounds, 8 ounces. He measured 24 inches in length.

Years before donning his first pair of samurai pants or treating his hair the way Edward Scissorhands would a shrub, Pollard knew how to draw a crowd.

"Doctors and nurses were coming down to the maternity ward just to get a look at him," Pollard's mother, Marlyn, said in a phone interview from Provo, Utah.

"Scot likes to tell people he was never shorter than 2 feet tall."

Hard work and grit have allowed Pollard (6-foot-11, 265 pounds) to enjoy a 10-year NBA career. He dives for loose balls, battles for rebounds, and relishes every minute.

His basketball talents are journeyman material, but his quick wit, outrageous fashion sense and peculiar background have placed him on everybody's all-NBA interview team.

At Cavs media day, Pollard, a Kansas University product, was asked whether he was looking forward to playing alongside LeBron James. Pollard went Jim Carrey on his inquisitors.

"Am I excited to play with LeBron? It's awesome,'' Pollard said on Oct. 2 while sporting his hair in a Mohawk. "I'm a witness. I got the T-shirt and everything. I just wish I could have his Nike shoe contract."

Pollard joked that his only endorsement deal is with Fun Dip, the Nestle-manufactured candy.

"I guess I like to float my own boat," said Pollard, who signed a one-year free-agent deal in the off-season. "It's what keeps me sane."

Some might challenge Pollard's mental state, but those who know him say it's all in fun. Besides, anyone who called Ron Artest a teammate for three seasons is entitled to some eccentricities.

Pollard has a catalog of talking points.

¢ He grew up as one of six children in a devout Mormon home, but never embraced the religion.

¢ He did not take basketball or school seriously until after his father - University of Utah hoops legend Pearl "Poison" Pollard - died when Scot was 16.

Pollard has a tattoo on his back that reads, Son of Poison.

¢ He enjoys vintage cars, and drove around Kansas University in a 1972 Cadillac convertible he calls Marvin.

¢ He proposed to his wife, Mindy, in front of 16,000 fans at a Jayhawks Midnight Madness practice. His wife also is something of a free spirit, a woman who shops for his unusual fashions and suggests different hairstyles.

"She inflames (my quirks) sometimes," Pollard said. "She will say, 'Why don't you grow your hair this way?' She painted my nails in college."

Fingers or toes?

"Both," he said.

Pollard's hairstyles and facial features have run the gamut: ponytails, spiked hair, mutton chops, Van Dykes, handlebar mustaches. As a member of the Sacramento Kings, he went through a John Belushi "Samurai Warrior" phase.

Pollard, who received his degree in education, is a history buff and just finished reading about the final days of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

"Booth hid in a thicket for five days out in the woods," Pollard said. "I like history, I don't like fiction."

Pollard's life is testimony that truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

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