Shane Battier still remembers the disdain he felt from Houston fans when Memphis traded him there about half a decade ago. He can laugh about it now, but says he remembers the team getting booed for making that trade. When the Rockets traded Battier back to the Grizzlies at the trade deadline, that was hardly the case. Instead, as some beat writers have said, it was like Memphis got its adopted son back. It’s an adopted son that’s averaging fewer than 10 points and just under five rebounds per game, far from gaudy numbers. However, Battier can help Memphis keep its head above water while it awaits the return of Rudy Gay. Battier also gives the Grizzlies an elite and versatile perimeter defender, and he brings a veteran leadership presence to the Grizzlies’ young locker room.
That’s a combination that has been loved by many, including the Rockets, whose fans probably booed his trade again.
Shane Battier joined WHBQ in Memphis with The Sports Bar to discuss what the day was like when he was traded, how he found out he was moving back to Memphis, the reception by Grizzlies fans, his familiarity with Memphis, where he believes the team stands right now, and if the term “veteran leader” makes him feel old.
What was the day like for him when he was traded:
“It was a stressful day. I haven’t had that much stress surrounding basketball since my draft day. It’s a life-altering day. … People don’t realize you have families. I have a pregnant wife … and dogs I have to take care of. Knowing that I would probably have a different address by the end of the day was a little nerve-wracking.”
How he found out:
“I actually found out through Twitter feeds online. Honestly, I was on one of the websites and just kept refreshing. … As of 1:45 nothing had happened and I was like, ‘All right, I’m going to finish the year in Houston.’ I hit refresh at 1:55 and it said, ‘Sources say Battier to Memphis.’ I was like, ‘I better start packing.'”
On the reception of the trade by Memphis fans:
“It’s unbelievable, considering last time I got traded, when they announced the trade to Houston, they booed the trade. They wanted Rudy Gay. And so would I.”
On the familiarity that he has in Memphis:
“I feel really comfortable. I know where all the towels are in the shower. … If you get traded to a team where you just have no connection, everything from finding your parking spot to finding your way to work to finding a place to eat after the game, it’s stressful. It can become a distraction.”
Where the Memphis Grizzlies stand in the West right now:
“It’s a dangerous team. … It’s a team on the rise. It used to be, ‘OK guys, we need to bring our energy tonight. This is a young team, we can just out-discipline them and put them away.’ You can’t do that anymore.”
Does the term “veteran leader” make him feel old?:
“No, I take that as a badge of honor. I’ve played 10 years, 10 productive years. That’s more than most. I take pride in the fact that I’m still productive and I’ve got a couple more years left in me.”