Shane Battier Eyes Being High School Teacher When Playing Days Done
The Houston forward is 32, and has gotten to the point where he's thinking about what he might do when his playing days are over. The 10-year man, who becomes a free agent this summer for the first time, figures he's got three or four seasons left before he embarks upon a new career.
"I've always loved to teach,'' Battier said in an interview with FanHouse about what he might do after basketball. "I could see myself as a teacher helping young people in some capacity. ... I've always thought about teaching a life skills class. There's so much common sense that kids never learn these days, like how to balance a checkbook, how to look over a mortgage agreement or an auto lease. ... Teach them skills that would really make a difference in their lives.''
Battier said it would be high school students he might like to teach. And how would he want to be addressed in class?
"If I get the teaching degree, I'll be Mr. Battier,'' he said.
No doubt he would be treated with respect. After all, Sporting News last fall ranked Battier as the seventh-smartest athlete in sports and tops among NBA players. The other NBA players to make the top 20 were Phoenix forward Grant Hill at No. 10, Lakers forward Pau Gasol at No. 15 and San Antonio forward Matt Bonner at No. 19.
Like Hill, Battier went to Duke. A 2001 graduate of the school, Battier had a 3.5 grade-point average while majoring in religion.
"That's typical,'' Houston coach Rick Adelman said when asked about Battier considering being a high school teacher when his playing days are over. "Shane is a unique individual in this league. I'd be very, very surprised if he doesn't do something that's going to benefit everybody else. I keep telling him he'll be president some day. That's just the type of person he is. I think he's really got his head on straight.''
If Battier is president, that would pay a bit more than a high school gig. President Obama is pulling down $400,000 a year.
But Battier said money won't be a motivation after basketball. He's making $7.35 million this season, and has earned about $47 million in his NBA career.
"Hopefully, after I'm done playing, I'll be exploring my dreams and following my dreams and not have to worry about financial considerations,'' Battier said. "I'm not a very lavish person. So hopefully that won't be the case that I have to go chasing a paycheck. It's never been (about money), and it never will.''
That last comment doesn't sound too typical of one made by a player about to head into free agency. But this free-agency stuff is all new for Battier.
"I've never been an available male on the open market,'' said Battier, who was drafted by Memphis in 2001, signed a six-year extension with the Grizzlies that began in 2005 and was dealt to Houston in 2006.
Battier has interest in returning next season to the Rockets, who have enacted a policy of not signing extensions past this season due to the uncertainty when the collective bargaining agreement expires June 30. Houston general manager Daryl Morey, though, has said that can't be read as any indication Battier isn't wanted back.
"If I can stay injury-free and still have the passion, I still have three or four more good years ahead of me,'' said Battier, a defensive specialist averaging 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds. "I've had a great run in Houston. And, if they bring me back and have a good role for me, I wouldn't mind that.''
Adelman sure wants Battier back.
"Oh, yeah,'' Adelman said. "He's our captain and he means so much to this team. ... Shane (is Houston's best defender) on the perimeter. If we didn't have him, I don't know what we'd do.''
Battier doesn't know where he will be playing next season. But that hasn't stopped him from thinking a lot about life after basketball.
"I'm not going to be a desk jockey,'' he said. "I'm allergic to fluorescent lights. Stick me in a cubicle somewhere and I'll die a slow death. Wherever it's going to be (after the NBA), it's going to be pretty dynamic.''
Battier said being a high school teacher fits that description.
"It doesn't surprise me,'' Rockets guard Kevin Martin said of Battier perhaps taking a job such as that for what would be about 1/100th of the salary he's now making. "That shows you what kind of role model Shane is. ... He's smart. He's probably the only guy who can pull off (wearing) khakis anymore. I could see him as a high school teacher.''
Check back later this decade to see if class is in session with Mr. Battier.