Scot Pollard, who in 11 days will play in his first organized basketball game in 19 months, says his two-game stint with the Midwest All-Stars isn’t the start of a full-fledged pro comeback.
“I don’t think an (NBA) offer will come. I’m probably done,” said the 34-year-old Pollard.
The 6-foot-11 former Kansas University power forward/center recently accepted an invitation to play in a pair of exhibitions against his former teammate Vlade Divac’s Club Partizan team.
“I will not hold a press conference to say I’m retired,” said Pollard, who has been out of basketball since playing for the 2008 world champion Boston Celtics. “(But) the fact I didn’t hear from more than a couple teams last year ... I don’t think it’ll happen this year.”
Pollard will be one of just two recognizable names (former Michigan State guard Mateen Cleaves the other) on the Midwest All-Star team that will meet the Serbian squad on Sept. 27 at Purdue-Calumet University in Hammond, Ind., and again on Sept. 30 at Dakota High in Macomb, Mich.
“This is strictly something where Vlade asked me to participate. There are no former NBA players besides Mateen. It adds a little luster to the team. I’m in good enough shape to play 15 minutes. I know I can play 15 minutes in my sleep,” Pollard said.
Scouts from the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns will be in attendance, since those teams will be playing the Serbian team in the NBA exhibition season.
“If somebody would call in the spring and wants a veteran to make a playoff push, I would consider that. I’m not interested in moving my family again for a short-term, non-guaranteed deal,” said Pollard, who lives in Lawrence with wife Mindy and children Lolli (10), Tallula (6) and Ozzy (2).
“Toward the end of my career, I didn’t have the passion to play in the NBA nine months a year. I wanted to be a better father than pro athlete. It’s why I’m done.”
Pollard said he’d be making a trip to Los Angeles in coming weeks for negotiations that involve, “being in front of the camera.” Pollard did some broadcast work for NBA Network last year. He had a regular, popular Planet Pollard segment on Boston TV and has his own Web site planetpollard.com.
More on Ostertag
One of Pollard’s former KU teammates, Greg Ostertag, told the Journal-World last week he’d like to make a pro comeback after being away from the game three seasons.
Since that story appeared, Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson told the Dallas Morning News that the 36-year-old Ostertag is on the Mavericks’ radar.
“Everyone knows how bad I’ve wanted to play in Dallas,” Ostertag told the Morning News. “I grew up there (in Duncanville). They were my favorite team growing up. I’d play there in a second.”
Pollard hasn’t talked to Ostertag about a comeback.
“To me, he must be really bored,” Pollard cracked. “I heard a story from a trainer in Cleveland that he worked out with them in the summer (since retiring) and left. He said, ‘I’ve got to go to the bathroom,’ and never came back. With ‘O’ you never know. Last time I saw him was at the Final Four (2008) in San Antonio. He looked good.”
ESPN weighs in
One NBA executive told ESPN’s Henry Abbott that Ostertag is “looking trim and surprisingly mobile in his comeback attempt.”
“Wow, Greg’s in great shape,” one observer told Abbott. “Still can’t play, though.”
Michael Jordan came across as boastful — some say rude — in Friday’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Jordan resembled “a bully tripping nerds with lunch trays in the school cafeteria,” in his piece on Saturday.
Jordan actually flew his old high school teammate, Leroy Smith, to the ceremony. Smith was the upperclassman his old high school coach kept on the varsity over Jordan when Jordan was a sophomore. “I wanted to make sure you understood: You made a mistake, dude,” Jordan said in chiding the coach, Pop Herring, who made the decision so many years ago.
“If that’s true he showed a sign of himself that he or his people were good at hiding for all those years,” said Pollard, who did not hear the speech.
“I played against him a couple times. There were rumors he was not the nicest guy in the world. I’ve heard stories I would not repeat as part of the NBA brotherhood. But for him to do that at the Hall of Fame shows no class. You are the greatest in the world. Everybody knows it.”
Actually Pollard quickly amended that statement. “Wilt was the greatest in the world. They changed the rules of the game because of him,” Pollard said of former KU player Wilt Chamberlain. “As one of the top two in the world, to do that in your Hall of Fame speech. ...”
Kansas University coach Bill Self Tuesday made an in-home visit with Adreian Payne, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound senior center from Jefferson High in Dayton, Ohio. Payne scheduled a campus visit to KU on Oct. 24, Rivals.com reports. Payne, the No. 20-rated prospect in the Class of 2010, is considering KU, Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan State and West Virginia.