As the NBA playoffs draw closer and closer to the end, only one former Blue Devil continues on for a chance to win the NBA Finals. Former Blue Devil Shane Battier, a 35-year-old 6-foot-8 small forward plays for the Miami Heat, but isn’t a major factor for them.
Battier plays with the likes of Chris Andersen, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Paul George and Chris Bosh, players who have been regarded as some of the best of today, if not the best of all time. Playing time isn’t just going to be given out willy nilly when the team that you play for has the best of the best.
Even though Battier plays with the best of the best, his presence doesn’t go under the radar. Earlier this month, Battier was announced the winner of the NBA’s Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award. This award is presented to the player who goes above and beyond with recognizing selfless play, leadership and being a role model.
“Although the guys in the locker room couldn’t cast any votes for me, I’d like to think they would’ve voted for me if they could,” said Battier when he was awarded with the honor. “I hope they know that I love them and I appreciate them and everything I do I try to make that locker room better and this team better.”
Over half of the Heat roster has more than 10 years of NBA experience. The average amount of time a player on the Heat roster has spent in the NBA is just under 9 years. Ray Allen, guard for the Heat, has been on a NBA roster for 17 years, making him the player with the most experience for Miami. Forward Rashard Lewis has spent 15 years in the NBA. Battier comes in right behind them with 12 years of professional experience.
That experience that Battier has exemplifies his leadership to the highest degree. He may not be a starter, but the time he spends on the floor is crucial for the Heat organization. In the last game, game four of the series against the Indiana Pacers, Battier scored five points in the nine minutes he was on the court. In the game before, he was on the floor for seven minutes, scoring three points and grabbing a rebound.
“…Shane [Battier], he’s the ultimate teammate,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on May 24. “Selfless. He’ll do whatever it takes. He’s a leader. He’s playing for his brothers, his teammates, and you can feel it.”
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