Shane Battier: Taking Charge
By Zachary Devita
Photography by Aldo Arguello
Former Miami Heat player Shane Battier and his wife, Heidi, established the Battier Take Charge Foundation around six years ago and have been an integral and popular part of the Miami and Coral Gables community. “I’m a proud Miamian. I live here locally in Coral Gables and we’ve established roots here. This is home, so, I think it’s the responsibility of not just me, but everybody, to be a part of their community. To do what they can to make it better.”
The Battier Take Charge Foundation mission revolves around helping troubled youth by providing the necessary tools and resources to gain a good education and develop into effective leaders in society. “When I made it to the NBA, when I made it big, I felt like it was my duty to be able to afford access and opportunity to those who needed it. We are providing a great opportunity to unlock these kids’ dreams through the power of a college education.” The foundation has graduated three kids to this point, and hold another 15 within the program and have placed them all over the country.
Last month, Shane hosted the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Village of Merrick Park in cooperation with the Battier Take Charge Foundation. When asked about the Christmas Wonderland the Village put on, Shane said, “This is a fun celebratory event…when I was asked to lead the tree lighting celebration, I took it as a huge honor!”
Shane’s illustrious basketball career spans back from winning a college national championship at Duke as well as Naismith College Player of the Year back in 2001 and culminated when he won back-to-back championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. The key to his success? His parents. “They were instrumental in helping me develop into the person I am today. They instilled in me a sense of gratitude, community and an unbelievable work ethic. There’s no question I wouldn’t be here without their guidance.”
Although Shane has been retired for over a year now, there are still things about the game of basketball he misses. “I miss the subtle battles in a game. The in-game adjustments you have to make against Kevin Durant, or Carmelo Anthony or some of the greatest players in the world. The small battles that really are never picked on television, that you know that you’ve won or you’ve lost in the heat of it all.” While the small battles may be over,
Shane hasn’t shied away from the world of sports in retirement. “As an old retired player now I’ve taken up golf. I’m merely a single digit handicapper and so I’ve worked really hard on that. I’m improving and it’s been a fun journey.”
Along with golf, Shane has put a strong focus on the foundation and expanding its efforts and events in and beyond South Florida. “Everyone in Miami knows about the success of Battier-oke. That’s been a lot of fun to bring down here and we’ve had a huge level of support for that. We’re looking to grow as a foundation, looking to add programming, looking to add more kids. There are a lot of great kids in our county and in South Florida that just need the access, need examples and need to be told, hey, someone cares about you.” As of right now the foundation is up to standards according to Shane, but their work is never done and they are looking to add more within the community.
Despite the fame and the fortune that comes with a career like his, Shane remains humble, always willing to help those around him. This remains evident when asked what piece of advice he would give to future basketball players who want a career similar to his. “Learn to love to work. If you enjoy the work, then you’ll have no problem putting in the extra time it takes to make yourself a great basketball player and unlock your full potential.” It’s no surprise that Shane loved his work on the court, but it’s his work off the court that will continue his legacy for years to come.
For more information on the Battier Take Charge Foundation, please visit www.takechargefoundation.org
Click here to view this post in the MSM January/February 2016 digital issue