Former NBA player 'awake and feeling great' after heart transplant

By John Mercury February 19, 2024

Former NBA Scot Pollard is “awake and feeling great” one day after a successful heart transplant, his wife has said.

Dawn Pollard took to X on Friday to share that the former basketball player, who turned 49 on Monday, “has a new heart!”

She said: “Surgery went well and I’ve been told the heart is big, powerful and is a perfect fit! Now on to the crucial part of recovery.

“Thank you to everyone for the continued prayers and support, but most of all, deepest thanks to the donor, our hero.”

She added on Saturday: “Look who’s awake and is feeling great! Breathing tube came out early this morning and he started cracking jokes and singing, ‘I left my heart in San Fran-Nashville’.”

Her latest update showed Pollard standing up just 12 hours after the transplant, saying “we are all amazed at his progress”.

Pollard’s heart was damaged after he caught a virus in 2021, which is believed to have triggered a genetic condition which causes his heart to beat an extra 10,000 times a day.

The former Boston Celtics player has known about the condition as it killed his father at 54 when he was 16. His five siblings also have the condition.

He was admitted to an intensive care unit at the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee, earlier in February, saying at the time: “I’m staying here until I get a heart.”

Standing at 6ft 11, and weighing 260lbs while playing, finding a heart suitable for Pollard was complicated. He revealed that he was advised to register at as many transplant centres as possible to maximise his chances of getting a new heart.

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He also said in a phone interview shortly before going to hospital that his dad’s death was an “immediate wake-up call” to him as a teenager.

“You don’t see a lot of old (seven-) footers walking around,” he said. “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.”

File pic: AP
File pic: AP

In 1997, Pollard was a first-round draft pick after helping Kansas reach the NCAA Sweet 16 in four straight seasons.

Over 11 years, Pollard played for the Detroit Pistons, the Sacramento Kings, the Indiana Pacers, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Celtics.

In his final season playing basketball in 2008, he won the NBA finals with the Celtics, although he played no part in the championship run after a season-ending ankle injury.

Since hanging up his jersey, Pollard has worked in broadcasting and acting. But his most famous appearance post-NBA was as a contestant on the game show “Survivor,” where he was voted out on Day 27 with eight contenders remaining.


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