Scot Pollard played in the NBA from 1997 to 2008, winning an NBA title with Boston in his final season. But he is best known, perhaps, for his time with the Sacramento Kings, from 1999 to 2003, during which he was a part of some epic playoff battles with Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.
As it turns out, Pollard, who entered the league one year after Bryant, didn’t care much for the Mamba.
“Personally, I never really liked Kobe,” Pollard said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I didn’t like the way he carried himself, but I absolutely respect the way he played the game. If I was a GM, I absolutely want him on my team. I got to find the right guys that can play with him, but there’s very few players you’d want in front of him in the history of the NBA having the ball in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. He absolutely was a closer. I wouldn’t want to play with him. I think he made the team about him as opposed to making the team about winning. Did he win a championship without Shaq?”
He did. In fact, he won two – in 2009 and 2010 – with the help of Phil Jackson, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum, among others.
Bryant, it is worth noting, shot just 6-of-24 in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals, as Pau Gasol had 19 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Lakers to victory.
“I don’t think (Bryant) carries his team like Jordan carried his team and made everybody on his team better,” Pollard said. “Kobe didn’t have that effect on his teammates. Kobe needed Batman to his Superman. He needed another superhero to help him win. That’s the part about him that I don’t respect.”
Still, Pollard believes that the 37-year-old Bryant deserves all the victory-lap attention he is getting in his 20th NBA season.
“Oh, absolutely,” said the 41-year-old Pollard, who will be a contestant on the upcoming season of Survivor. “I absolutely adore the fanfare he’s getting right now. Every city that he’s going to for the last time, pretty much he’s getting the key to the city. I respect that. I love that for the NBA – because that’s the way it should be. If we had known Jordan’s last season for sure, that’s the way it should be for these guys. If you knew it was Shaquille O’Neal’s last game for sure and when the time comes for LeBron, absolutely, there should be a swan song in every single city that he plays in for the last time because of the mark that he’s made in the NBA. So I absolutely respect his game. I just didn’t want to be teammates with him.”