Sunday, May 1, 2011

Shane Battier - The Ultimate Teammate

The regular season has ended and the 2011 NBA playoffs are in full swing! After an 82 game marathon, the top 16 teams head into the post season for an opportunity to compete for an NBA title and a chance to solidify their names as among the greats.

It's an exciting time for basketball fanatics like myself because the level of play and intensity immediately gets raised a few notches. With the increased stakes, everything that happens in the game matters even more. Every basket that's scored has significance, every play is dissected and each decision a player makes on the court is made with the intention of helping the team win.

My good friend, Don Yaeger recently highlighted one such "Ultimate Teammate" in his recent Moments of Greatness newsletter.

On April 17, 2011 Shane Battier hit a game winning shot to give his Memphis Grizzlies their first ever playoff win in franchise history (16 years). That win propelled the Grizz to become the second team in NBA history to upset the top-seed in a seven game first round playoff series.

When you take a step back and look at the entire picture, it's makes sense that Battier is the one who made the shot. And the thing is that it's got nothing to do with the fact that he's a superstar because by today's definition, he isn't.

This former Duke product has never lead any team that he's played on in scoring, never selected to play in an All Star and plays a very effective game with little to no flash.

The reason it makes sense that he hit that shot is because throughout his entire NBA career, Shane has had a history of making the teams he plays on better.

Case in point:

  • After his rookie season, the Memphis franchise finished with back to back 40+ win seasons for the first time before he was traded to the Houston Rockets prior to the start of the 06/07 season.
  • The Rockets went on to have three consecutive 50+ win seasons before he was traded back to Memphis just before the trade deadline this season.

The 6ft 8in small forward has a reputation throughout the league of being a hustle guy that's willing to do the little things like diving for loose balls or drawing offensive charges against his opponents.

These little things or Game Changers (Hard Court Lesson #6) can be the difference between winning and losing.

If you're on a team or part of a group, you have an opportunity to be that "Ultimate Teammate". Regardless how big or small, your actions can contribute to the team's bottomline.

In sports, they're called, "glue guys" because of their ability to pull everyone together through selfless team oriented play and willingness to sacrifice their own stats for the good of everyone else.

Shane is one of those guys, how about you?

PS - Click here to subscribe to Don's newsletter.

See you on the court!

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