James Clifford "Jim" Pollard (July 9, 1922 – January 22, 1993) was an American basketball player and coach.
In college, Pollard played for Stanford and was a key member of Stanford's 1942 national championship team (though due to illness, he did not play in the final game). During World War II, he starred in Coast Guard teams from Alameda to Honolulu. Following World War II, Pollard played for the San Diego Dons and the Oakland Bittners, making four trips to Denver for AAU playoffs. In the NBA, Pollard was considered one of the best forwards in the 1940s and 1950s, and was known for his leaping ability (Pollard would occasionally dunk from the free throw line during warmups) earning him the nickname "The Kangaroo Kid".
In 1952, players who had performed in the NBA since its inception (after the merging of the NBL and the BAA) selected Pollard as the best player of the period. Pollard teamed with George Mikan and Vern Mikkelsen for the Minneapolis Lakers, forming one of the best front courts in basketball history. The Lakers won six professional basketball titles: 1948 (NBL), 1949 (BAA), 1950 (NBA), 1952 (NBA), 1953 (NBA), 1954 (NBA).
Pollard ended his career after eight seasons, beginning in the NBL in 1947 and ending in the NBA in 1955. He went on to coach La Salle University men's basketball for three seasons from 1955–1958, compiling a record of 48-28.
Pollard coached the Minneapolis Lakers in 1960, the Chicago Packers in 1961-62, Minnesota Muskies of the American Basketball Association in 1967 and 1968. He then coached The Floridians of the same league in 1968 and 1969 followed by two seasons at Florida Atlantic University in Ft. Lauderdale.
Pollard was considered an exceptional all-around athlete. During his NBA career, Pollard also played amateur baseball for Jordan, Minnesota's Town Team baseball club. He was reputed to be "a good pitcher and a powerful hitter." It was there that Pollard famously "hit a ball that didn't stop until it got to Chicago," because it landed in a gondola car in a freight train passing by the ballpark.
Pollard was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978. He has also been inducted into the Bay Area Hall of Fame, Stanford Hall of Fame, and Pac-12 Hall of Honor.
By Dean Hanley
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