Twenty questions with the Miami Heat’s Shane Battier:
1) What is the best perk you get that is unique to playing for this particular team?
“I’ve never had beautiful women calling my name from the stands before. It has always been over 55 years old or 10 and under. But now it is beautiful women.”
2) When was the last time basketball made you cry?
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“1999. National championship game. Losing to the University of Connecticut. Win, and we’re the greatest team in the post-Wooden era. Lose and we’re a skid mark on the underwear of history.”
3) What is the secret to a successful marriage?
“Humor. Laughter. Laugh at yourself, not at your spouse. Don’t laugh at your spouse. But laugh at the situations you find yourself in with your spouse.”
4) Think of the teammate you most disliked. What were the traits that made you dislike him?
“Unwillingness to give effort. Lack of enthusiasm for the success of teammates. Bare-minimum caring.”
5) Admit it. For you, as a Duke graduate who prides himself on smarts, ending the game at Boston by bouncing the basketball off the butt of Paul Pierce on an inbounds pass felt better than whatever LeBron James felt dunking on Jason Terry.
“[Laughter] True. I take pride in the mental battles and mental victories and squeezing around the nuances of the rules.”
6) What principle do you live by?
“Do well. And do good.”
7) What is something you do that annoys the people who love you?
“My friends and family really hate when I’m really right. Don’t argue and let me win. Don’t do it.”
8) What is the unhappiest you’ve ever been as a pro?
“Rookie year. Losing my first 13 games. I lost more my first few weeks in the NBA than I did in four years in college. I lost more my first six weeks in the NBA than I did the previous eight years in college and in high school.”
9) What is something you’ve learned about LeBron that you didn’t know before getting here?
“He’s a lot more human than his marketers let on. He has flaws, weaknesses, foibles like any other superhero.”
10) When you started, what did you think your career would be?
“I had only two goals. Play 10 years, and walk away before they kick me out. That’s it. The winning, the all-defensive teams, that has been gravy. I’m not surprised by my success, but I’ve definitely overachieved well beyond my original goals and dreams.”
11) What is the dumbest money you’ve seen a teammate spend?
“Oh, gosh, the chains. The jewelry. Really atrocious. The platinum and yellow-diamond chains. Made me cringe.”
12) What is the guilty pleasure you could go broke buying?
“Wine. I’m fiscally responsible, but I’ve got no problem dropping coin on a good Cabernet. I’ve got a small collection. It is forever dwindling.”
13) What athlete in another sport would you pay to watch?
14) How would you articulate to someone who doesn’t understand the kind of shape you are in?
“Imagine running up a hill until you throw up in the hottest month of summer. I’d be OK doing that. You could put the treadmill on the highest setting, and I can sprint on it from a minute, get off for a minute, sprint for a minute and do that 15 times without it bothering me.”
15) When were you awestruck by the behavior of a celebrity around you?
“This is random, but in college, I was at a concert and Hootie & The Blowfish saw me from the stage and called out my name. I’m the guy who takes charges. I’m scoring eight points a game. I’ve met three presidents since, but why are these guys calling at me from up on stage?”
16) What are you proudest of on your basketball résumé?
“Talk to my teammates. Ask them. Everywhere I have gone, they’ll say I was a good teammate. I help.”
17) What would be your career do-over?
“I would have shot more when I was young. I care about percentages, about playing the perfect game, about being highly efficient. Made me really conservative, too conservative.”
18) Who is the toughest teammate you ever have had?
“Either LeBron or Ron Artest.”
20) Best leader?