In a wonderful bit of news, Shane Battier was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday. Who better? Who more thoroughly represents the ideals we’d like to see in a student-athlete?
Battier was an unforgettable college basketball player from beginning to end. Just some brief memories first:
- When he called Dean Smith to tell him that he had chosen Duke, Smith said “alright” and hung up (he later said he was asleep when Battier called).
- He watched a documentary on Shaolin Monks and was inspired. Next game he debuted his three point shooting and credited the documentary, saying it proved you could do anything if you believed in yourself.
- When Duke briefly fell out of first place in then ACC in his senior year and then got back again, a reporter asked him how it felt: “normal.”
- He told a reporter that Coach K would just tell him to “run around out there and make stuff happen.” Seriously. Those were his instructions. He was good enough that he just freelanced.
- The fingernail tip-in vs. Arizona in the 2001 title game.
On a personal note, Card Gym used to be easy to get into. That changed around the time Battier was at Duke and we were trying to get in to watch Corey Maggette play because we knew he was freakishly athletic. We wanted to get an idea.
We argued with the guy at the door for a couple of minutes before giving up. We turned around and Battier was immediately behind us, a bit annoyed probably but apparently a bit amused as well. He was so gracious about it, so thoroughly decent that it’s hard to even explain. But the immediate thought was what so many people have described: there’s something about that guy. He could be president one day.
Fortunately for him if not the rest of us, he’s not gone into politics. He still has that quality though. The guy is clearly different.
And now he’s in the Hall of Fame. We couldn’t be happier for him and the Hall is improved a good bit too.