“I hate being out on the floor wasting that time. I used to try to talk to people, but then I figured out no one actually liked me very much.”
That's a quote from Shane Battier, at the start of a long hagiography in the New York Times Magazine about the Houston Rockets player and his decidedly unspectacular performance as judged by most statistical metrics. The article sets out to make the case for his importance to the team despite that, and although the case has been made better elsewhere it's still a good read, provided you can stomach that much praise for Shane Battier.
It did remind me though that for all my dislike of Shane Battier during his time it Duke, it was less for what he did and more for the frustrating effect he had on everyone else. The bogus charges he'd draw on every opponent he shared a time zone with and the overly effusive praise from coaches, broadcasters, and passerbys, were always more annoying than the man himself. He was always a stand-up guy, and his work on the Student Basketball Council towards the payment of players I fully supported. That beng said, I keep flashing back to this bit of internet humor every time I hear his name:
DURHAM- In a stunning announcement coming on the heels of Jason Williams' announcement last week that he will stay in school, Shane Battier announced this morning that he will be staying at Duke to play college basketball indefinitely. Duke officials confirmed that the NCAA had given Battier "Ambassador" status, thus allowing him to remain on the Blue Devils' roster "as long as Coach K and Dick Vitale deem appropriate."
"I wanted to do what's best for myself, Coach K's program, and my teammates." Battier said. "Plus, why whould I want to go to the NBA? Duke players suck in the pros."
A spokesperson for the NCAA also indicated that for the rest of his NCAA career, which many expect could last another 16-18 years, Mr. Battier would be equipped with a special whistle during games so that he could call his own fouls. "Our referees do their best to help Shane, but as anyone could have seen from the Feb. 1 game with North Carolina, they're going to occasionally inhibit his game. Since Shane knows the game better than anyone, we feel it's best just to let him be a "player-ref" so that college basketball can more closely resemble Dick Vitale's vision of the game."
When reached for comment, representatives of several other ACC institutions indicated that this development was disappointing, but not altogether surprising. Reaction on Duke's campus, however, was considerably more positive. Chants of "Who's your daddy, Battier?" rung out from a group of East Campus students early Tuesday morning until they apparently realized that none of them actually understood what the chant meant. Molly Hartsfield, a Duke junior from Summitt, NJ, was quoted as saying, "It's just a real tribute to Shane. He's so committed to Duke, and so smart-just look at him-he even wears his brain on the outside of his head." Then she inexplicably raised her fist in a defiant "Duke Power" salute, and stared at the Carolina blue sky for several minutes before making her way to class.
An excited Coach K had the following statement: "I've always said this game is not about wins, it's about relationships. I think this goes a long way toward showing Will Avery what a moron he is, and what a genius I am. Shane represents everything this program stands for, and he's welcome to stay at UNJ-D as long as he likes. After that, I don't give a @#$% what he does. Who am I, Dean Smith?"