Olden Polynice and Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson discuss 1987 NBA Draft on Scoop B Radio. Press Play To Listen!
Olden Polynice has always been alright in my book. An ambassador for his native Haiti, he has long been an advocate for social justice.
In 1993, as a member of the Detroit Pistons, the Port-Au-Prince, Haiti native was the first U.S. athlete to ever join a hunger strike. He did it while in-season to protest the treatment of HIV-positive Haitian refugees imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay and to challenge the Clinton Administration’s refusal to change United States immigration policy toward Haitians.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson also joined the fast.
Selected 8th overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 1987 NBA Draft, Polynice was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for Scottie Pippen, the fifth pick.
Pippen, became one of the greatest all-around offensive players, one of the very best perimeter defenders of all time and won six championships with Michael Jordan, head coach Phil Jackson and the Chicago Bulls.
Appearing on Scoop B Radio, I asked Polynice if it ever bothered him that some say that the Bulls got the better end of that deal.
Polynice gave an emphatic no.
“Not really because we both played in the NBA,” he said.
“I played 15 years, Scottie played his years and he got championships and I unfortunately didn’t and that was the only thing that I wanted; was a championship.”
Olden Polynice averaged 7.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for five different NBA teams. The 6’11 center is still a vocal leader around the game and coaches high schoolers, does skills training and some television work.
Pippen was selected as one of the 50 greatest players in 1996 and averaged 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists, two steals, and 0.8 blocks per game.
“At the end of the day, we both did the same thing, played in the NBA,” said Polynice.
“I thought I had a very good career, not to the extent of Scottie’s, but I was happy when I walked away from the game. I don’t get caught up in all that crap, that’s for other people and when people wake up thinking about me or talking trash about me your life is meaningless.”