Free-agent forward Battier has list of options during NBA lockout
Shane Battier has a set workout that he'll follow while the NBA is locked out
As a free agent, Battier said he doesn't want to risk injury in a pickup game
He would consider playing in China; he lauds Deron Williams' decision
What is a 32-year-old NBA player to do during a lockout? Here is Shane Battier's list of summer options.
Exercise. The 1998-99 lockout ruined the careers of several NBA players -- most infamously Shawn Kemp -- who were unable to either stay in shape during the work stoppage or recover their form during the shortened 50-game season. Battier understands why.
"It will be tough to stay in game-ready shape if the lockout goes to October and November," he said. "I'm used to ramping it up in September and getting myself ready to use training camp to get into really good basketball shape. Running sprints and hills and doing conditioning gets old, and it's going to be tough to stay razor sharp if it goes into the season."
Battier has already begun to work out alone on his property near Ann Arbor, Michigan. "I live in a wooded rural area and I've been training myself 'Rocky' style the last 10 years I've been in the NBA," he said. "If you're in the NBA for years, you have to have some sort of discipline and dedication.
"I have my workout down pretty standard. I have a little gym in my house, and I'm in there a couple of hours -- I have a high school kid rebound for me. But a lot of it is 'Rocky'-style training -- running hills, throwing sandbags around and chopping wood. I get a little psycho when it comes to staying in shape and watching the calories. But running sprints and hills and doing conditioning gets old, and it's tough to stay razor sharp if it goes on a long time."
Avoid basketball. "It's even stranger for me because I'm a free agent, and that means I really can't risk playing pickup basketball," he said. "I remember a few years back in college, Christian Laettner came back and was playing with the Duke guys and tore his Achilles. I can just imagine playing a pickup game at the University of Michigan, going up for a rebound and coming down on someone's foot. Plus I don't have [NBA] health insurance right now, which would not be a good thing.
"I don't know if I'll be as sharp as I can be without being able to play pickup games. So I'm rooting for an early settlement."
Golf. Battier will be playing in the celebrity American Century Championship July 15-17 at Lake Tahoe, where he will donate $1,000 for every par he makes. "I'm asking people to join me in pledging $1, $5, $10, $100, whatever they want," he said.
The money will go to the Battier Take Charge Foundation, which awards four-year college scholarships to high school seniors who exhibit leadership. "We have six great kids in our program right now," said Battier, a 20-handicap golfer. "While most people do birdies for these fundraisers, I actually want these kids to go to college. If we did birdies they would not be able to go to school, and I want these kids to go to school."
Consider playing overseas. "If I were to play anywhere, I would look at China first because I have some connections there depend," he said. "It would depend on the tenor of the negotiations and if it looks like we'll play a season."
Battier believes more players will be inspired by Deron Williams' decision to play in Turkey. "I was proud of him for taking that chance," he said. "That will be a great experience for him and I would not be surprised if more guys follow suit. But it will be surprising if guys go over there for August training camp [as that's when camps tend to open in Europe]. If it doesn't look like we'll have the normal exhibition seas and preseason, you could see a bunch of guys go to Europe."
Relive last season with the Grizzlies. "It was the most surreal four to five months of my life to get traded back to place I started," he said of the midseason deal that sent him from Houston back to Memphis. "I left Memphis with nothing but good vibrations, apart from the 0-12 playoff record. The city welcomed me back with open arms, it was like I'd never left -- though I was a little older and probably a little slower.
"The playoffs were magical. We got hot at the right time as an eighth seed, it was a surreal run. We had a good matchup with the Spurs. When we clinched a playoff spot, people around town were saying, 'We would be happy with one win, preferably in Memphis -- but just win one.' When we won the series, it was electric with all of the people wearing Grizzlies stuff. It was awesome.
"Then for us to take the Thunder to seven games [in the second round] ... when it was over it was sad, and I told the guys on the team to enjoy. It won't be that innocent and pure again because now the Grizzlies have to deal with the burden of expectations. It makes everything a little more cynical."
The opening playoff win at San Antonio created the "craziest day" of Battier's life. "I hit the three with under a minute left to put us up," he said. "My wife had been on bed rest the last six weeks in Houston with a pre-labor condition, so we knew there was a good chance she'd have to go to the E.R. when the baby came.
'Sure enough, in the third quarter of the Spurs game my wife stands up, her water broke and she had to be rushed to the hospital, unbeknownst to me. She had to go under general anesthesia to deliver the baby.
"It was a fairly scary moment after the game. I'm in the locker room talking to the media and a bunch of my teammates are behind me making fun of me. Then Rudy Gay came up to me and said 'You've got to go, your wife is having a baby.'
"I thought he was joking. Then Steve Novak said he got message from his wife -- 'Take Shane to a car to take him back to Houston.' I checked my phone and there were 10 messages from doctors and nurses.
"Luckily my brother-in-law was there in San Antonio, and two and a half hours later we were in the hospital. I got there two hours after she was born, and everyone was healthy and safe."
His baby daughter, Eloise, continues to do well. Battier also has a 3-year old son, Zeke.
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