on fatherhood: a sitdown with shane battier written
Shane Battier is a retired professional basketball player who played throughout college at Duke University. After graduating, he played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, and Miami Heat, as well as the US National Basketball team. Recently, Battier has started The Battier Take Charge Foundation to provide scholarships for students who many not have had the means to attend college otherwise. Alongside the launch of Battier’s Rhone Ambassador video, we were able to sit down with him to discuss what father’s day means to him and how he plans to celebrate this year.
What is your favorite thing about Father’s Day? What is your favorite thing about being a Father?
My favorite thing about Father’s Day is that I get the chance to reflect on what it means to be a dad. Growing up I celebrated my dad on Father’s Day, and whether it was making him a card or watching basketball or golf with him, I always enjoyed it. Now being able to do that with my own kids is so special. It is something I am really proud of. I love teaching my kids about the world. I make sure to teach them the importance of being benevolent, having integrity, hustling, having grit, figuring things out, and being able to work with people. These are all things you cannot learn in a textbook, but any person who wants to be successful must know those things. I like trying to impart that onto my own kids and then watching them growing as people.
What were some of the best lessons you learned from your father?
My dad was always my football and little league coach. He was not always a man of many words but he always demanded certain things from me. Those things were to hustle, communicate - cheer on your teammates and support them and you never put your teammates down, prepare - practice sharp and play sharp, and to have sportsmanship - it is important how you react to wins and losses. These are lessons I took with me all the way through childhood to the NBA championship.
Did you father encourage you to play basketball?
Sports in general were always around in my house. There was always a game on. My first memory of being alive is being surrounded by basketball, football, and baseball. That’s what my brothers and I did. We went to the park, we played as a family, and it really was never a question if I was going to play sports. It was always what we did, and I loved it.
Was Mike Krzyzewski, your coach at Duke, like a father figure to you as well? What was your biggest take-away from working with him?
Everyone in Coach K’s program is family. He takes responsibility of being the steward and being the father figure when were all away at college. He teaches us how to be men, and to be responsible and committed. He thought it was important to be able to focus and produce. It’s not just basketball, for him, it was about creating men that would shape the world for the better.
What are your plans for this upcoming Father’s Day? Any family traditions?
I really love how the US Open is on Sunday on Father’s Day. I love golf and my kids are starting to get into golf. To sit on the couch and watch golf with them is the ideal Father’s Day for me. Just spending time together, there really is nothing better than that.
You and your wife started The Battier Take Charge Foundation to provide resources for underprivileged youth. In this regard, you are taking care of kids all around the world. Why was establishing a fund such as this important to you?
Establishing The Battier Take Charge Foundation was important because we all have a civic responsibility to make the world better. There are so many causes to do that, but my wife Heidi and I are particularly passionate about education. We have a great platform, we connect people, we connect resources, and we choose to help kids through education. Our goal is to help people. That should be everyone’s goal, no matter who you are or where you come from.
How do you see the Foundation growing in the next few years?
We are really proud of our scholarship program. We have 16 kids in the program and it has been great to see that grow. We are now starting the GUIDE program, which stands for Giving Underserved Individuals Direction in Education. We are trying to supplement the college counselor process in Miami-Dade County. Overall, they are understaffed and under-resourced and we are doing our best to fill in the gaps. We want to remind all students that college is an option. We want to point them in the right direction to get help them be able to get an education.