Olden Polynice is a pretty terrific NBA footnote. More than that, he is a man. Do you know anyone, or have your heard of anyone, who has ever been arrested TWICE for impersonating a police officer? Yeah, didn’t think so. Olden Polynice has got that on me, you and everyone else in the country. The guy has no fear and that’s how he played basketball.
Polynice was a lottery pick by the Chicago Bulls back in 1987 after a pretty decent college career at the University of Virginia. In his three years at Virginia, the big 6’11” center average a paltry 12 points and 7 boards a game. But we all know that you can’t teach height, so the Bulls thought it wise to draft Olden. However, they promptly traded Polynice to the Seattle Sonics for their lottery pick, a guy named Scottie Pippen. Pippen would go on to become the greatest second fiddle of all-time and an absolute stud on defense. Polynice? Well, things went a bit differently for him.
Polynice was traded four times in his career and played for five different teams (he played for two of them twice) and averaged in double figures four times including a career high of 12.5 in 1995-96. He actually spent the first 6 seasons of his career as a role player. He got some starts here and there but never really logged any serious minutes. However, in the middle of the 1993-94 season, Polynice was shipped by the hapless Detroit Pistons to the Sacramento Kings and began to get some serious burn.
Olden was a starter during much of his time in Sacramento and then in Utah. His teams in Sacramento were not much to write home about, but he was able to catch on at the tail-end of the Malone/Stockton era in Utah and was part of some of the oldest teams in the history of pro sports. Check out the dudes that played for the 1999-2000 Utah Jazz:
- Olden Polynice, 35 years old
- Karl Malone, 36
- Jeff Hornacek, 36
- John Stockton, 37
- Armen Gilliam, 35
The astounding thing here is that most of these guys got serious playing time. This team of geriatrics managed to put up 55 wins and finish first in their division. Polynice helped lead the charge with 5 points and 5 boards a game in a starting role. Talk about mediocre!
Since retiring, Polynice has done some TV work for the Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA and has helped raise money for his native Haiti.