Shane Battier doesn’t know when he’ll be playing basketball again. He also doesn’t know who he’d be playing for. Battier is one of those interesting cases of being a free agent who can’t discuss or sign a deal with teams during the NBA lockout, but he doesn’t seem all that worried about it.
Battier, who was traded from Houston back to Memphis most recently, says he’s at peace knowing that if the NBA never settles their labor dispute, he would be able to use his education to go find gainful employment.
Shane Battier joined KILT in Houston with The Odd Couple to discuss being in attendance for Mike Krzyzewski’s record-setting night, why Coach K is so special in general, the Penn State scandal, how involved he has been in the lockout, what it’s like to be going through it as a free agent and fans who are losing interest in the NBA.
On being in attendance for Mike Krzyzewski’s record-setting victory:
“It was an unbelievable night, a special night. There were about 25 or 30 former players, managers and support staff all at Madison Square Garden. … We were nervous the first half, but once the game was in hand, it was a pretty big celebration and a special night to be there.”
What is it that’s so special about him, not just with sports, but life in general?:
“He’s an unbelievable leader. He happens to just be a basketball coach. But if he was in charge of a corporation or in a government position or a school teacher, he’d be successful because he knows how to unite his group. His biggest asset is getting talented people to worker harder and more together than anybody else. That’s his trademark. There are other coaches who probably know Xs and Os, could probably draw up a better play than Coach K, but I don’t think there’s anybody that can get five people to work together on a court than he can.”
On the Penn State scandal:
“I think I was as shocked as everybody else. It’s a disturbing story and obviously it’s early in the investigation and the trial. It’s premature to really indict anybody, but the initial details and story you hear are shocking and appalling. … Let’s hope something like this never occurs again in athletics or in the world.”
What’s the offseason been like? Have you been involved with the lockout?:
“I’ve been a conscientious observer of the process. I really haven’t been too involved with the mediators, but I’ve been talking to different representatives and guys in the know in the inner circle and given my two cents. Obviously, it stinks. There’s no way around it. The players feel terrible and it’s a no-win situation. There’s not going to be a winner out of this scenario. Unfortunately it’s the ugly business side of what we do. It’s the side that normally never creeps up, but in times of collective bargaining negotiation, and I’m sure that you guys are sick of reading antitrust law … but it’s the reality of our business.”
What’s it been like to go through the lockout process as a free agent?:
“Life goes on, it really goes on. I’m fortunate to have played 10 years in the league. I’m secure in who I am. At this point, I’m confident that if the NBA were to never settle, I could go out and get a job and use my brain to provide for my family. That’s allowed me amazing piece of mind to just start thinking about post-basketball, but at the same time be ready for when we do settle, if we settle, to be ready to go.”
What do you say to fans who say they’ve grown disinterested in the NBA due to the lockout and say they won’t come back?:
“I feel for them. I can’t deny their feelings, but I know that when we do settle, the players will do their best to win back our fans. We have unbelievable fans. Anyone who’s an NBA fan or has been to an NBA game … knows that we share a bond and a passion over basketball. In the end, the game always wins. You can talk about the litigation and the arguments, but basketball is basketball and it’s never going away. We’re hopeful that people don’t lose sight of that.”