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When trouble strikes, Pollard bolts
By Gary Bedore (Contact)
Sunday, May 29, 2005
A happily married, proud father of two daughters, NBA veteran Scot Pollard will not put his life in jeopardy when he ventures out for a beverage.
If it seems like trouble is brewing in an establishment, the 6-foot-11, 265-pounder sprints for the nearest exit.
“My personal experience is, I get up and leave,” said Pollard, a 1997 Kansas University graduate and current member of the Indiana Pacers.
“I’ve had verbal assaults against me. What might happen is somebody gets jealous that his girlfriend wants to have a picture taken with me, or friends want a picture taken or an autograph. Somebody might be jealous of the money (NBA players make).
“When anything like that happens, I’m leaving.”
No party animal, Pollard was merely responding Saturday to questions about the bar scene in both the pros and college. Bars have been in the news since KU’s J.R. Giddens was involved in a melee outside Lawrence’s Moon Bar.
“Somebody wants to start something and tell their friends they kicked your butt,” the 30-year-old Pollard said.
“It’s a lose-lose situation for everybody if you don’t walk away. Even if you win the fight, the next time somebody else will start something. I’m too happy a person to get into it.”
Sometimes, Pollard resists the temptation to leave the hotel in opposing venues.
“In the Eastern cities, Boston, Philly, you don’t go out,” Pollard said. “You don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Pollard, who played for Roy Williams at KU, said he went to bars in college and sees no need for any rule prohibiting the bar scene.
“You can’t tell ’em not to go to bars. I wouldn’t have wanted somebody telling me not to go out. It’s part of college life,” Pollard said. “You pick one that’s your spot. I found one and stuck with it.”
In his case, that was the Yacht Club, 530 Wisconsin St.
“You get to know the crowd, the regulars. You know the kind of people who go there. Yacht Club was my favorite spot. I still go there and the Jet Lag,” said Pollard, who makes Lawrence his offseason home.
Pollard, who has yet to return to Lawrence from Indianapolis for the summer months, said he had been updated on the Giddens case from ex-Jayhawk Greg Gurley, who lives in the Kansas City area.
“When he (Gurley) first told me about it, I was concerned about J.R.’s health,” Pollard said of Giddens, who is expected to be off the court between six to 10 weeks because of a slashed artery in his right calf.
“Then it was, ‘OK, did he start the fight? Did he initiate it?’ If he was looking for trouble, then it’s a negative (for KU’s program). If he’s not out looking for trouble I don’t think it’s something (negative). It’s not like it’s commonplace. I don’t think it’s commonplace.”
Pollard, who has played the past two seasons in Indiana, has one year remaining on his six-year, $30.7 million contract. He’s been subject of trade rumors.
“Larry (Bird, Pacers’ president) came out in the paper and said nobody is safe, and he included Jermaine (O’Neal),” Pollard said of the Pacers’ top player O’Neal. “He wants to tweak the lineup.
“The thing that makes me valuable to trade is I have one year left on my deal. A team gets me one year and they get all that (salary) cap room the following year. That could be a bad scenario if that team only wants me one year. I think there are a lot of teams that probably want a guy like me who can guard Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) several times a year.”
Pollard has played for Detroit, Sacramento and Indiana in his eight-year career.
“I always remember this a business. You never know what will happen,” said Pollard. “In the NBA there are package deals. I could get thrown in one of those. It’s for the team to decide.”
Pollard, who has had back problems, averaged 4.8 points and 5.0 boards in 49 games (17 starts) last season. He averaged just 4.0 minutes of playing time in the conference semifinal series against Detroit, playing in just three of the six games.
“People ask me if I was not playing in the playoffs because of my back. That was not it. Coach (Rick) Carlisle figured a smaller lineup was better,” Pollard said.
The easygoing Pollard said one of the best things about the NBA was running into so many ex-Jayhawks. Nine Jayhawks played in the league last season, tying Connecticut for third-most of any college program. Just Kentucky (13) and Duke (10) had more.
“It’s cool,” Pollard said of playing against Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce (Boston), Billy Thomas and Jacque Vaughn (New Jersey), Kirk Hinrich (Chicago), Nick Collison (Seattle), Drew Gooden (Cleveland) and Greg Ostertag (Sacramento).
“Mainly what I do is brag to my teammates. When we play Boston, I’ll say, ‘Those two guys are from Kansas. I don’t see anybody out there from UCLA, no Colorado Buffaloes, no Providence Friars, no Clemson Tigers or anybody from Southwest Texas State,’’’ Pollard said, laughing. “It seems like every team in the East, there’s at least one (Jayhawk).”