Sure, Shane Battier's a very recognizable name, face and wrinkleskull to NBA fans and other grown-ups who remember him from his days at Duke. But if you're just a kid whose recent bummerific return to school had been brightened by the promise of a visit from a member of the two-time-defending world champion Miami Heat, a 12-year veteran who's best known for taking charges and being smart isn't exactly the most exciting possible guest. (He probably won't even dunk on the hoops in the gymnasium; he'll probably just talk to you about scouting reports.)
Battier gets that, though. And because he's smart, he's got just the right idea when it comes to getting kids to pay attention to something other than the fact that he's a no-stats All-Star and not, y'know, a real All-Star. From Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
Battier spoke as St. Mark's [Episcopal School] launched its new Project Lead the Way robotics and engineering program. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program is affiliated with Duke University.
Battier introduced himself to the school's preschool saying, "I'm teammates with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade." Later, at an assembly for older students, he asked rapid fire, "Who likes Dwyane Wade? Who likes LeBron James? Who likes broccoli?"
"I know famous people — I recognize that I am, in this analogy, the 'broccoli,' but make no mistake: I know famous people." Smart tactics, Shane. Maybe not as smart as making sure to mention Bud Light in an interview so that Anheuser-Busch would wind up bringing a truck full of it to your house, but still quite savvy.
Apparently, though, some kids not only don't care for broccoli, but also can't remember the last time they saw it on the menu:
Not all were up to speed, with one of the first questions asked [of Battier]: "Do you still play basketball?"
Of course he does, youngster. Reports of his demise were premature, after all, and Battier's still got one year and $3.27 million left on the three-year contract he signed with the Heat before the 2011-12 season. That said, you're not super far off-base — Battier did acknowledge thinking about retirement during the playoffs and did tell Winderman that "we'll see where we go" after Battier finishes the final year of his deal.
A man with Battier's intelligence, connections and temperament is sure to have plenty of options available to him after his playing days end, but if he ever finds himself between a rock and a hard place, he can always turn to his experience as a towel
boy man and a culinary expert. (Actually, forget about that last one.)
Or, better yet, he can just reach out to one of his famous former teammates. Did Shane mention he plays with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade? No? Well, pull up a chair, children, and let Uncy Shane spin you a yarn about the time LeBron hit like a million shots at once.