Center Scot Pollard showed up for the Pacers' Oct. 2 media day with a shaved head and a bushy goatee that could have doubled as a small rodent. It was, by his standards, a subdued look. As a Kings reserve for five seasons Pollard was renowned for, among other things, painting his fingernails, sporting everything from a John Belushi triple ponytail to blond surfer locks to a multicolored buzz cut, cultivating sideburns the way some do shrubbery, and uttering sound bites that seemed straight out of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Surely, the move to the Midwest—where he was sent as part of a three-team trade in July—hasn't cramped the big man's style? No, as the Indiana media quickly found out. Asked by a male reporter if he expects to clean the glass, the 6'11" Pollard replied, "I don't do windows, sweetie, but I do toilets." One cameraman came away saying, "He's one straaaaange dude."
As for the new 'do, that didn't come about by design. Pollard had been growing out his blonde-tipped locks this summer until his wife, Mindy (whom he calls President Pollard because "she signs all the checks"), launched a sneak attack with the clippers while he was in the bathroom. "She came up and—neeeeent!—nailed me," he says. "She didn't like the look, obviously."
Some have compared the colorful Pollard with Dennis Rodman, but he takes exception to that. Pollard may dye his hair and wear outlandish outfits-including, once, samurai pants—but, he says, "I'm not into partying." He spends most of his time with Mindy and their two daughters, watching movies. "I do weird things that attract attention," says Pollard, "but I don't do them for attention," Pollard has always gone his own way. He grew up in a Mormon family headed by 7-foot Pearl (Poison) Pollard, a University of Utah star—Scot has a SON OF POISON tattoo on his back—but he alone among five sons never took to the religion. And it wasn't until he was in his teens that he embraced the sport in which his father had excelled.
So how does a player maintain his individuality in the NBA? "You just be what comes into your head," says Pollard, who adds that there's room for the team concept in his philosophy. "You can't be a complete free spirit. You've got to be coachable, or you're not going to last. But other than that, do what you want to do."
Finally, Pollard points out that his words of wisdom matter only if you're already a free spirit. "If that's not who you naturally are," he says, "nobody can tell you how to do it." Which is to say, his advice is useful only to those who don't need it. In Pollard's world, that makes perfect sense.