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Survivor: Jeff Probst sizes up former NBA player Scot Pollard

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Monty Brinton/CBS

Survivor is all about hardcore competition. So perhaps it is no surprise that the show has cast several folks from the world of professional sports over the years.

Former quarterback Gary Hogeboom was the first high-profile athlete to jump over when he competed in Survivor: Guatemala, while Super Bowl champion coach Jimmy Johnson played in the Nicaragua season. There was also former National League MVP Jeff Kent, who appeared in the Philippines season, while NBA all-star Cliff Robinson showed up recently in Survivor: Cagayan.

The CBS reality franchise will be dipping back into that same casting pool for its next season, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, which debuts Feb. 17. This time it is former NBA player Scot Pollard who will be (bathing) suiting up to compete for a million dollars. The 6-foot-11 Pollard played for five teams (Detroit Pistons, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics) during his 11-year career, winning a championship in his final season with the Celtics.

Monty Brinton /CBS Entertainment

So how did Pollard end up on an island in Cambodia? “He’d been in the mix a bit, but it all came together this season,” says host Jeff Probst. Okay, but can he keep his high-profile (not to mention high-paying) past from the other contestants? “I think his size makes him a target for early speculation,” says Probst. “Folks may be asking, ‘What does a guy this big do for a living?’ So being recognized is definitely a concern, but I think he has a pretty good story prepared to explain why he could still deserve to win.”

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And what does Probst think of the free-spirited Pollard and how he’ll do in the game. “I loved Scot from the moment I met him. He’s a big guy with a big personality that can swing from a true gentle giant that will take care of you to a guy who would just as soon bury you — with a shovel.”

We’ll find out how Pollard does when Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, premieres on Feb. 17.