Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pollard most likely done with NBA


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

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.”

Jordan’s speech

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. ...”

Recruiting update

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, reports. Payne, the No. 20-rated prospect in the Class of 2010, is considering KU, Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan State and West Virginia.


jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

} NBA indifference dissing Pollard.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski dissing MJ.

Pollard dissing MJ.

Unattributed John Doe dissing Tag.

And Coach Self doing an in-home with Adreian Payne.

The message?

Doing beats dissing.

VegasJhawk09 10 years, 4 months ago

Wilt Chamberlin changing the rules of the game.

Alex Staley 10 years, 4 months ago

NJjayhawk, seriously? You wouldnt even put Jordan in the top 6? thats crazy. jerk or not, greatest player of all time

Michael Pannacciulli 10 years, 4 months ago

ordan was the greatest at his position. Hands down. Pollard has a big mouth too. He yaps on about everything. So much for the brotherhood after telling that Clevland story. Yikes. Hope Donnie isn't reading this story for O's sake.

Aligned 10 years, 4 months ago

I watched Stockton, Robinson and Sloan speak, thoroughly enjoyed all three, and recognized them as what they are; class acts. I couldn't make it through MJ's rambling bs though. Actually, I'd have to say I've never liked MJ less than I do now, after listening to his HoF inductions speech. He should've received some advice on how to behave prior to doing that. I really do think he came away from that performance looking petty and small.

TwinCitiesJHawk 10 years, 4 months ago

Scot Pollard can make the playoffs in his sleep. Yes sir.

Chris Bruning 10 years, 4 months ago

jordan is the best player of all doubt...and if by chance any of you have read the book "when nothing else matters" you really find out that michael jordan was a jerk and held grudges like no one else...but definitely best of all time....

Aligned 10 years, 4 months ago

It's interesting how someone who has probably received more praise and is more universally recognizable than virtually any other athlete in the world can focus on such a small and insignificant number of 'perceived slights'.

You know, as I think more about the issue, Jordan is just one weird dude.

rawkhawk 10 years, 4 months ago

I was always a fan of Scot Pollard. It's great hearing about the continued camaraderie of KU players through the years.

As far as Jordan, definitely the best player in his generation. A fun player to watch both on the court and on Saturday Night Live.

It's a great time of the year...cooler weather, KU football team is playing well, and KU hoops are around the corner.

KANSTUCKY 10 years, 4 months ago

MJ became bigger than the game itself, just like Tiger Woods is bigger than the game of golf. It's really hard for them to put into perspective what got them there in the first place. God's gift to the sport. MJ, go buy somebody a motorcycle, it will make you feel better.

John Boyle 10 years, 4 months ago

MJ became bigger than the game because of the NBA marketing gods. He was an outstanding athlete who could have been a fantastic player to watch but as the years went on, he spent more time complaining about not "getting" the call than playing well. In my opinion his numbers are almost as tainted as Barry Bonds. He was "untouchable" in the league. If you played defense on him you would be called for a foul. The only thing that ever stopped him was him. Having said all that, he was one of the best to ever play the game. But he was no Wilt or Bill Russell. What did MJ do to change the game? Did they change the rules because of him? (I mean other than you aren't allowed to guard the superstars). He's retired and now with his speech he has shown his true colors. Let's let him fade away into the sunset now.

Chris Bruning 10 years, 4 months ago

SOLOMON...i guess in large part i consider MJ the best ever cuz i got to watch him every other night on the WGN...never got to watch russell, chamberlain, or any other greats....but as far as robert horry...he wasn't the general on one team his whole career. although clutch. MJ also changed the style of the game

Joel Hood 10 years, 4 months ago

RCJ (anonymous) says... “jordan is the best player of all doubt...”

I bet there are a lot of people who would give votes to Oscar Robertson. I also tend to think that Magic Johnson was the best team player of all time. He was the anchor on the 1992 Dream Team – it revolved around him, not MJ. Magic was at the end of his career and MJ was nearing the peak. But, all of that is debatable.

And then Wilt. No player has ever had a greater impact on the game. MJ may have been the greatest player of his generation, but Wilt broke the molds of his generation. He was so dominant that rules were changed to slow him down. How many rules were changed to slow down MJ? If anything, rules and officiating in the league were designed to help him. From 1991 through 1998, MJ played on teams surrounded with other great players and this was during the peak of MJ’s career. Wilt didn’t get to play on great teams until the end of his career. Look at all the statistical records that Wilt has in rebounding, scoring, scoring percentage, etc. How many more years did Kareem need to play than Wilt to finally break his scoring record? And, Kareem is considered one of the greatest scoring centers of all time!

The athletic nature of MJ clearly set a new expectation for how guards should play the game above the rim. After all, everyone wants to be like Mike. And yes, MJ is clearly one of the greatest. But, no way he is greater than Wilt. Wilt was a god – he was Zeus. MJ is a god too is, but more like Apollo. With the exception of Wilt, no one can claim to be greater than MJ, but Apollo is not Zeus.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

I once tried to argue who was the best player ever and after doing so and settling on a tie between Bill Russell, Wilt and Kareem, came to the following conclusion: there is no best player ever.

Jordan was the best 2/3 position player ever; that is the best guy who could and did play both positions. Not even close. He could do everything the positions required and was the go-to guy and best perimeter defender, and carried a team to 6 NBA rings.

But Jordan was not the best player ever, because there cannot be a best player ever. Each position requires such different skills that it is goofy to talk about a best player ever. It is like comparing a great bench saw, a great sander, and a great drill in wood working and saying one is the best tool ever. Nonsense. You have to have all three to make great furniture. And they do different jobs. And they have different sizes and shapes suited to their differing tasks. Same with players in the greatest game ever invented.

One can validly argue and arrive at a reasoned judgement about who was the best ever at a position, though probably not utterly beyond dispute.

Magic and Oscar remain tied and unequaled for the one position.

Jerry West would be my pure two, but there are several guys playing today that will likely exceed him.

I like Karl Malone and Larry Bird in a tie for the best 4.

I like Russell, Wilt and Jabbar in a tie for the best 5.

Why do I have so many ties?

Because it turns out that at the very pinnacle of excellence at each position, there are a couple different body morphologies and skill sets that can dominate at each of these positions, and do so in different ways.

If I had to pick a tie breaker, I would make number of NBA rings the tie breaker at each position. But I don't have to, so I don't. Coaching and teammates contribute almost as much weight to NBA rings as the individual super star, and every super star with a brain says so. A superstar is necessary. But he can't get it done without a very good coach and the right supporting cast for his skill set.

End of discussion.

Yeah, right. :-)

meastland 10 years, 4 months ago

Solomon - I can't believe you're comparing Robert Horry to MJ. Hitting a couple of key 3 pointers on a championship team is a lot different than being the dominant player on a championship team. Horry was never even the best player on his own team which no one could say about MJ. He may or may not be the greatest of all time, but that comparison is ridiculous.

Blake Post 10 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, Wilt. So great. Love Wilt.

Loved to watch Jordan and Bird too.

and Pistol Pete. And Jo Jo

Love those guys.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

Post Script: I have also previously argued Magic was the best player ever, because he was the only guy who could and did play all five positions in a career and won rings doing it.

But again, this only proved Magic was the most versatile player ever, which he was without doubt.

Even the Magic man, cannot be the greatest player ever.

And Wilt, based on his ability to concentrate on any particular facet of the big man's role and excell an order of magnitude beyond what anyone else has accomplished before or since (excepting free throws which was a big weakness for big man), certainly deserves to be called the greatest versatile big man ever!

Which guy would I bet would always win a majority of one on one games; that is, be the best in one on one of all time?


No question.

But again, one on one is a separate game from the greatest game ever invented.

For the greatest game ever invented, there can be no greatest player.

Father Naismith was a democratic, egalitarian genius that way.

And this is why the game is so American and so important to the world.

Rock Chalk!

Joel Hood 10 years, 4 months ago

Very good points regarding positions and versatility. Although, if I HAD to win one game, my starting GOAT team would be:

  1. Oscar Robertson
  2. Magic Johnson
  3. Michael Jordan
  4. Larry Bird
  5. Wilt Chamberlain

Bryan Summers 10 years, 4 months ago

Marketing! MJ has been promoted by the largest athletic merchandise company in the world.

Great, yes. I'm a fan. But the greatest, no.

I haven't read a single word about Dr. J - he played in a league that struggled to get publicity because of NBA influences in the media. Had he been given the marketing of MJ, we might be reciting another marketing "hook" besides "I wanna be like Mike". Perhaps, "Gotta see the Dr.".

The only thing MJ was missing was a theme song!

MJ (Nike) logo, the jump from the free throw line to dunk the ball, wasn't even performed first by MJ. Also, I'm told that the free throw rule, "can't cross the line until the ball hits the rim", was created because Wilt would jump from the free thow line towards the rim - very few misses with that technique.

murph 10 years, 4 months ago

As usual, MJ is succeeding in turning all eyes toward himself. This was a piece about two JAYHAWKS, thank you - Scot Pollard and Greg Ostertag. Why are we wasting all this debate on some (ugh, barf!) CAROLINA player??? Jordan wins the greatest in one category for sure - the greatest, biggest swelled head who ever played the game.

Now can we please get our attention back to the good guys?

murph 10 years, 4 months ago

Hmmm. I had put "Jayhawks" and "Carolina" in all caps for emphasis, but somehow when the comment posted the words showed up lower case. Phooey. Bottom line - had I known, I would have at least capitalized the two proper nouns!

yates33333 10 years, 4 months ago

This is a Payne K.U. could use. Pun intended.

Fred Davis 10 years, 4 months ago

To all the folks saying that Jordan is the best because of the marketing he received - give it a rest. Michael changed the game not necessarily from a rule stand point, but rather how we view our superstars and what we expect from our superstar athletes because of the way he dominated for so long... In the NBA now, what do we hold Kobe, LeBron and every other NBA Superstar to? How many titles do they lead their team to, plain and simple.

As far as Wilt, yeah, Wilt changed the game because he was 7-feet tall in an era when there weren't a lot of seven-footers around and the NBA was void of the same kind of athletes . They changed free-throws because he couldn't shoot them so he dunked them. Great. He was a freak athletically in a game that nobody was even close to him athletically. I like Wilt, but c'mon, he's not better than Mike, and I'm not sure he's better than Bill Russell. If Wilt didn't go to KU, 99% of you wouldn't care a lick about Wilt...

So what if his Hall of Fame speech was rambling, who cares that he's still bitter and he still uses slights from 30 years ago to motivate him. So what? Whatever gets you through the day, and for MJ, that's what gets him through. And to me, it's kind of like everybody bashing Favre for coming back again. How many of us average guys who lead regular lives, and sure, maybe we've won something here or there, but most of us have never been professional athletes, and 99% of us have never lived nor had the experience of an MJ or Favre - giving up what you've done for so long and excelled at for so long, and then you have to give it up because your body can't keep it up - and you're only 40, that's got to be a hard pill to swallow, and nearly impossible for most to fathom. Is Michael a jerk? Probably. But he's still the greatest.

Joel Hood 10 years, 4 months ago

FreddyD, No disrespect, but Bill Russell, Jerry West, KC Jones, Billy Cunningham, Elgin Baylor, etc. all list Wilt as the greatest. Sorry, I think I'll have to go with their opinion over yours. BTW, Wilt had his best games against Russell - something Bill Russell has openly admitted.

This idea that Wilt only dominated because of the weaker talent is just silly. If Wilt was in his prime today, he would have access to all the advances modern players have. He would dominate.

By your avatar, I appreciate your loyalty to MJ. But MJ was a guard - so the comparison is apples and oranges. I'm sure MJ would whip Wilt in a free throw contest though.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 4 months ago

Putting this "best player ever" debate aside for a minute...

I jsut picked up a copy of the Athlon College Basketball Magazine that just came out. Preseason, we're ranked #1. And, they have a projected NCAA Tournament bracket with us winning the NC again against Michigan State.

Interesting article too about Cal. The article is titled "The Cult of Calipari". The most noteworthy quote from Cal is "...They looked into everything, and there are no allegations against me." Translation, I got away with another one!

Can't wait to see how many other publications give us our props too.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago


Dang fine pick-up team for maker takes, too. :-)

Wow, just looking at their names in print makes me get excited about the game. They were all sooooooooooooooo good!!!

Alec White 10 years, 4 months ago

Sorry guys, MJ was the best. Room for debate, but lets imagine this... Wilt was exceptionally talented and played at a level that hadn't been reached before. But he also played half his seasons against unathletic guys who were anywhere from 3-6 inches shorter than he was for over half his career. No one will ever match his 50pt-25rb average season that he had in the NBA, but I wonder what numbers he would put up if he was stuck in the NBA now against guys like Howard, Garnett, and Duncan? Just like someone mentioned, Wilt was right there with MJ in ppg for career, around 30.5 I believe. But once talent around the league started to level out, Wilt's numbers dropped from out-of-this world to outstanding. He is undoubtedly one of the top 5, if not top 3, but come on guys....its MJ!!!

MJ was the GOAT without any question. He played in the greatest era of basketball with the best all around talent and still outshone every other player by miles. Imagine if teams lined up some no-name 6'2" white guy (I'm thinking Steve Blake) against Jordan. He could've averaged 234,697,518 ppg (rough estimate). Wilt was the most dominate player of a weakened generation, than a great player in a good generation (Russell, Oscar, etc). MJ dominated at the same rate in the greatest era of basketball without remorse. Maybe this will help settle the debate-

Aligned 10 years, 4 months ago

Uh huh. Thanks for clearing that up for us (insert big eye roll here).

Joel Hood 10 years, 4 months ago

Each new generation seems to believe that athletes of past generations were somehow inferior. After all, aren’t all records eventually broken? There is no way that Wilt could dominate against guys like Shaq, or Hakeem, or Duncan - right?

Imagine Dwight Howard, only 3 inches taller, stronger, more athletic, more versatile, more driven, and possessing a higher basketball IQ. Now, get that guy out of his Chuck Taylors and have him train in a 21st Century facility. Yeah, you’re right, a guy like that couldn’t possibly dominate the game today in a watered down league of prima donnas.

I guess Jerry West, who played at the highest level, played with Wilt, and has been around the NBA since the 1950’s knows less than the Wilt doubters out there. After all, we’ve been told since 1991 that MJ is the greatest, what possibly could The Logo know?

championhawks 10 years, 4 months ago

a comment on the actual heading of this story (Pollard, not MJ), it is amazing that pollard has been in the league for so long! A lot of people talk about Ostertag and how long he was able to stay in the league, what about Pollard? He was never really a great player and never put up the numbers, and he doesn't have the size that Ostertag has. Kudos to Pollard for being able to sustain a career for that long!

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago


The prosecution stipulates that MiJor remains the best 2/3 swingman of all time.

But the prosecution is about the cut the Rocky Mountain Oysters off the Defense and stuff one in each ear of the Defense, while tying the seminal vesicles in a tidy bow around the Defense's throat.

Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Nate Thurmond, and Willis Reed would not only have played Shaq and Hakeem even, they would have man handled Hakeem, and had Shaq ever even dared to think about running around the floor without dribbling, as he has always done, and then tried to rap talk and shoulder-bang his way to the basket, as he has always done like an overgrown kid on recess, Chamberlain, Russell, Thurmond, or Reed would have kicked his nuts all the way up into his thoracic cavity, then reached down his throat and pulled them up and out of his mouth, tore them off and force fed them to him with a baby spoon. Do you dig?

Now back to MiJor. It was Jordan who lucked out and played in the NBA, when it was completely weak and suffering through perhaps its longest drought of great big men. It was MiJor who was lucky that Bird hurt his back his third season and was never really close to himself again, even though Bird won a ring or two playing the game as a necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention, long-bombing, trash-talking, sneaker-shuffling invalid with an albino catepillar on his lip. It was MiJor who was lucky to have Magic Johnson's career cut waaaaaaaaaaaay short by AIDS. It was MiJor who was so lucky that the great Bill Walton had no real career after his third season.

jaybate 10 years, 4 months ago

MiJor is the luckiest sunnovagun who ever played the game of basketball at a high level. Almost every truly great player of his era got injured, or sick, and thus cleared the deck for a little man to stick his tongue out and fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

MiJor could never have flown through the air without getting a hardwood facial from Chamberlain, Russell, Thurmond, or Reed. He could never have won 6 rings had he had to play in a league with Chamberlain, Russell, Thurmond and Reed, even with all the short, un-sprung white dorks, and the one dimensional African Americans (no-touch jumping jacks) then still playing glue roles in the game. Even Chamberlain couldn't win six rings with Big Russ in the league, who won ten, because he was the greatest winner to ever play the game. To be completely blunt, MiJor would have wound up like Elgin Baylor had MiJor had to play in a league with Chamberlain, Russell, Thurmond, and Reed. He would only have won a ring if he had been able to get his boney onion on one of their teams. Never, never, never forget the chumps at center that Phil Jackson and MiJor got away with playing on those great Chicago teams. Wilt Chamberlain could have come out of retirement during the time of those great Bull teams and thrown down 50 points on those Bulls centers every game, while still handing out 10-15 assists.

MiJor had a great run in a league without great centers. Six rings is great even in such a watered down league. Six rings was about 3 or 4 more than anyone else in that weak league could do. But that league was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay weak during his time. It is waaaaaaaaaaay better now than when MiJor played. MiJor knows it; that's why he is always pimping for glory at affairs like this. He knows that as time passes and the aura created by the hype machine fades, his destiny is most likely to be known as the greatest 2-3 swingman of all time, and the greatest player of a weak era. And that grinds him, because like all great players, he wants to be the best of a strong time.

But he wasn't.

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