Former Kansas big man and longtime NBA player Scot Pollard was admitted to the intensive care unit this week and is awaiting a heart transplant, he confirmed to the Associated Press on Wednesday night.
Pollard was admitted to the ICU at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday.
“I’m staying here until I get a heart,” he told The Associated Press. “My heart got weaker. [Doctors] agree this is my best shot at getting a heart quicker.”
At 6-foot-11, it’s significantly harder to find a donor with a heart big and strong enough to supply blood to his body. To make things more complicated, his heart has been beating an extra 10,000 times per day due to a genetic condition. The condition, which he said was likely triggered by a virus several years ago, is one that half of his siblings have and his dad had. Pollard’s father died at 54 when he was just 16.
The 48-year-old said he feels like he’s “walking uphill all the time.” He’s tried multiple medications, several procedures and had a pacemaker implanted, but he’s now in need of a transplant. Until then, he will wait in the ICU at Vanderbilt.
"It's out of my hands. It's not even in the doctor's hands," Pollard said. "It's up to the donor networks … They can’t predict, but they are confident I’ll get a heart in weeks, not months.”
Pollard spent four seasons playing at Kansas, where he averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game during his senior season. He reached the second weekend of the NCAA tournament in all four of his seasons with the Jayhawks under head coach Roy Williams, too.
Pollard was then selected with the No. 19 overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 1997 NBA Draft. He spent his rookie season there, and then played for the Sacramento Kings, Indianapolis Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics before he retired in 2008. He won a championship with the Celtics in his final season. He averaged 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds over 11 seasons in the league.
Pollard also appeared on the 32nd season of “Survivor” in 2016. He lasted 27 days and made the jury, but was voted off with an immunity idol in his pocket.
"I'm from a family of giants,” he said. “I'm the youngest of six and I have three brothers that are taller than me. And people are always like, 'Oh, man, I wish I had your height.' Yeah? Let's go sit on an airplane together and see how much you want to be this tall.
"It's not like being tall is a curse. It's not. It's still a blessing. But, I have known my entire life that there's a good chance I wasn't going to get old. And so it gives you a different perspective on how you live your life and how you treat people and all that kind of stuff."