Ex-NBA veteran Scot Pollard hospitalized as he awaits necessary transplant: ‘Staying here until I get a heart’

 

Former NBA star Scot Pollard was admitted to the intensive care unit at a hospital in Tennessee on Tuesday where he will likely remain until he receives a necessary heart transplant. 

The former Sacramento Kings center revealed in a recent interview with The Associated Press that he was admitted to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center ICU this week, where he will stay until he can be matched with a donor amid a recent decline in his health. 

“I’m staying here until I get a heart,” he told the outlet via text message on Wednesday night. “My heart got weaker. (Doctors) agree this is my best shot at getting a heart quicker.”

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At 48, the 11-year NBA veteran said his health has long been a concern for him, and the same thing that helped propel him in his professional career – his height – is the very thing that has made finding a proper donor a challenge. 

“You don’t see a lot of old (7-) footers walking around. So I’ve known that my whole life, just because I had that seared into my brain as a 16-year-old, that – yeah, being tall is great, but I’m not going to see 80.”

According to the AP, Pollard’s failing health is due to a genetic condition that was likely triggered by a virus he contracted in 2021. The condition causes his heart to beat an extra 10,000 times a day. It is the same condition that his father, who passed away when Pollard was 16, had. 

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Pollard’s size, at nearly 7 feet tall and around 260 pounds, makes finding a heart that can support him more difficult. The reality of what a transplant means makes it even more challenging.

“The fact is, that person’s going to end up saving someone else’s life. They’re going to be a hero,” he told the AP. “That’s how I look at it. I understand what has to happen for me to get what I need. So it’s a real hard mix of emotions.”

Pollard said doctors have told him that the medications and the three ablations he’s had will not fix the situation.

“We need a transplant.”

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Pollard told the outlet that while doctors can’t say for sure, they expect that he will get a transplant “in weeks not months.”

A first-round draft pick out of Kansas in 1997, Pollard played for five NBA teams across 11 seasons, most notably with the Kings and the Indiana Pacers. He retired in 2008 after one year with the Boston Celtics. 

The Celtics would win the NBA Championship that year, but Pollard sustained an ankle injury in February that would sideline him for the remainder of that season. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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