This is an article from the May 2, 2011 issue
The Memphis forward hit a decisive three-pointer with 23.9 seconds left in Game 1 of the Grizzlies-Spurs series the day he had his second child.
Dan Patrick:Which came first, your winning shot in San Antonio or the delivery of your baby?
Shane Battier: The shot was when my wife was on the operating table. At about the seven-minute mark [of the fourth quarter], my wife is watching the game at home and stands up. We're six weeks out from the due date. She begins to hemorrhage. Our neighbor drives her to the hospital at 3:30 just as the game is ending. At 4:01 Eloise Susan Battier enters the world. After the game, Rudy Gay comes up to me and says, "You gotta get out of here. You're having a kid." I thought, O.K., that's funny. A little bit of a low blow. A little too soon. Let me enjoy my moment in the sun. Another buddy came up to me and said, "No, Shane, your wife, Heidi, is in the hospital." About four minutes later I'm on the road back to Houston. I make it back by 6:30 to see my baby girl.
DP:Were you in full uniform when you drove to Houston?
SB: It would have been a great movie scene, but I got to shower.
DP:Did you think you would be in the playoffs when the baby was born?
SB: No. You always hear stories about guys missing a playoff game or rushing home from a playoff game, and you never think that'll be you. So I had to laugh at the irony. I was that guy, and luckily it worked out perfectly. We had a 12 noon tip (CST) against San Antonio, three hours away from my home in Houston. If we had won our last game against the Clippers, we'd be playing a series in Los Angeles [against the Lakers], and there's no way I'm going to be home to be with my wife or see my baby. The fact we had that 12 o'clock tip in San Antonio was the ultimate blessing by the basketball gods.
DP:Will you decorate the nursery with Memphis colors or Duke colors?
SB: It's always Duke. Duke is forever. This is my legacy. When I'm old, fat and gray, people won't remember me for my NBA career as much as they will for my Duke career. Blue-and-white.
DP:Looking back at your college days, are you on the Mount Rushmore of taking fake charges?
SB: I only faked half the time. I always said that the ability to draw the charge was essential to my career. People didn't know if I was going to jump out of the way, if I was going to dive under them, if I was going to block their shot.
DP:Where does the Spurs' Manu Ginóbili rank as far as toughest guys to guard in the NBA?
SB: He's in the five-six-seven category.
DP:Top five toughest guys to guard?
SB: You got Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant. You've got Ginóbili. I'd put Joe Johnson in that category. Paul Pierce. Those are the usual suspects.
DP:Is Kobe the toughest?
SB: Kobe and LeBron are 1a and 1b.
DP:Who's the easiest guy to guard in the NBA?
SB: I'm not going to throw anyone under the bus. If you play in the NBA, you deserve respect.
• No. 1 Priority
The NFL Network's Mike Mayock watches as much game tape as any analyst, but he thinks you can't always see a draft prospect's most important qualities—work ethic and football IQ. Mayock thinks Cam Newton (above) is way beyond Tim Tebow and Vince Young mechanically but isn't convinced Newton wants to be great. "Something tells me that he'll be content to be a multimillionaire who's pretty good," said Mayock, "and that doesn't get it done for me."
• Personal Foul
After the incident at Dodger Stadium, fan behavior has been under the microscope throughout sports. Lakers guard Derek Fisher has noticed a change for the worse in the NBA. "I don't know if it's in line with what has happened politically, where there's so much polarization and hate for the other side," said Fisher, who was accused by a fan in Salt Lake City of lying about his daughter having cancer. "The price of a ticket to an NBA game gives people the license to do and say whatever."
• Line of The Week
TNT analyst and former Suns G.M. Steve Kerr on NBA draft prospect Jimmer Fredette: "He's gonna really have a tough time guarding. I say that from experience."
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Marisa Miller on her job with the NFL and love of motorcycles.
2. Ndamukong Suh shares his opinion on the 2011 NFL Draft.
THE FINE PRINT: The NFL released its 2011--12 schedule. Isn't this like the Mayans releasing a calendar for 2013?