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After a forgettable first six Finals games, the Heat's Shane Battier broke out in Game 7, connecting on six of eight threes en route to Miami's second title in as many years. When asked who or what was responsible for his performance, he responded, "the basketball Gods," and added, "I believe in the basketball Gods. I felt they owed me big-time." It was just the most recent bon mot from someone who is, for better or worse, one of the most uniquely expressive athletes of our era.
During the Heat's rendition of the "Harlem Shake" earlier this season, Battier wore a horse's head and lurked in the background. Evidently this is his wont.
"In the words of Yoda, 'Do or do not; there is no try.'"
When asked if this year's Finals Game 7 was going to be anything special, he replied, "It's an opportunity, that's all." Feeling that his answer was too generic, he pulled the Yoda reference out of his back pocket. Amused the reporters, the quote did.
In making the decision to join the Miami Heat in 2011, the deliberative Battier had a lot to consider. The breaking point, however, was the above line from Jimmy Buffet that he quoted during his press conference to announce his signing.
"I am Mr. President"
Thanks to the time he spent playing alongside Yao Ming in Houston, Battier is universally liked in China, trailing only teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in popularity. That high profile earned him a most distinguished of nicknames. It has also reportedly caused traffic delays and helped sell stacks of sneakers.
"I try to drink the same beer - Bud Light. I don't want to chance luck and switch up brands, so I'm staying loyal to Bud Light."
In the midst of the Heat's 27-game winning streak in the regular season, Battier was feeling a little superstitious. Like any dutiful athlete during a streak, he felt obligated to continue his routine. For his kind words, Bud Light made sure to return the favor:
"After walking through the desert of solitude and missing shots for eons, I encountered an oasis and tranquil waters of threes."
That's one way to describe a dry spell, sure.
After throwing down his first dunk in four years in a February game against the Bobcats, Battier felt some sympathy for "all the suburban Dads out there" that, like him, hadn't dunked in ages, if ever. He savored the moment by hanging extra long on the rim. Can't blame him.
Oh, ok, Shane.
"Sometimes you've got to eat a turd sandwich; makes the ribeye taste better next time."
After losing his three-point touch and being unable to stop Indiana's David West during the Eastern Conference Finals, Battier was benched in the final game of the series. (After all, someone needed to wipe down LeBron's sweaty arm during timeouts.) So it's no surprise that the underappreciated small forward likened his lack of playing time to "eating a turd sandwich."
Battier would eventually get to munch on that ribeye after an unbelievable Finals-clinching performance last night. Probably tasted pretty good.