Shane Battier confirms retirement from NBA

shane-battier-retiredAfter scoring 0 points in his last NBA game of the 2013-2014 season, NBA player Shane Battier has confirmed that he’s retiring from the league, following a career that spanned 13 years.

The 35-year-old forward, who has long said he was thinking about retiring when his contract ran out at the end of this season, confirmed in the Heat locker room on Sunday that he is retiring after a 13-year NBA career.

“I’ve given everything I can to the game and I don’t have any more to give,” Battier said, according to Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “And I’m OK with it.”

Battier also expressed his regards to the fans on Twitter, sending out a message a day later.

“Thank you thank you thank you thank you for all of the messages. It is an amazing feeling to be appreciated. It was a hell of a run and I have zero regrets. Proud that so many could feel a part of this journey, I appreciate your encouragement, love, and support. Cheers to all my friends on twitter,” he tweeted.

Coming off a distinguished four-year stay in Durham, Battier stepped right into the starting small forward slot for head coach Sidney Lowe, averaging 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game for Vancouver Grizzlies.

From there on, Battier’s numbers started to drop, while his impact as a defender started to increase. Battier was part of three postseason runs in Memphis, all of which ended in first-round sweeps, before being shipped to the Houston Rockets in the summer of 2006 in exchange for highly touted draft pick Rudy Gay and ex-Grizzly Stromile Swift.

After 4 1/2 years and three more playoff trips in Houston — including his first trip beyond Round 1, Battier was on the move again, as he was sent back to Memphis. Battier played his part as a defensive hound and gap-filler in the eighth-seeded Grizzlies’ historic first-round upset of the No. 1 seed San Antonio Spurs before struggling in Memphis’ second-round loss to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the young upstart Oklahoma City Thunder.

After another tough seven-game second-round defeat, Battier hit free agency and decided to move southeast to join up with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat.

He proved to be a hand-in-glove fit for a Heat team in need of offensive and defensive redefinition, serving as a capable wing defender, consummate glue guy and reliable floor-spacer, especially from the corners.

He helped give head coach Erik Spoelstra the flexibility to turn Miami’s offensive scheme from a traditional two-big set in which James and Wade largely took turns facilitating offense into a streamlined, small-ball attack in which Bosh would serve as a nightmare matchup five, Battier would play the stretch four, and James and Wade would have much more room to attack the basket and set things up for themselves and one another.

By playing that small four spot, Battier also helped save James the exhausting physical beating of having to handle big power forwards on the defensive end, helping keep Miami’s top gun in fine form for long postseason runs.

The restructuring worked beautifully, as the Heat became the first team since the 2008-09 and ’09-’10 Lakers to win consecutive championships, and the first since the mid-1980s Boston Celtics to make four straight trips to the NBA Finals. That fourth trip ended, though, as the first trip did, back in 2011.

“It was a difficult year,” Shane Battier said after his final NBA game, repeating a sentiment he’d privately expressed several times during the season. “It was a trying year from the standpoint that there were very few pure moments. That was the biggest difference between the past two years. And we were always trying to conjure something. And for a while there, in the second half, it worked. But you can’t win a championship trying to conjure something. It has to be who you are, and it has to be pure, and that wasn’t the case for us this year.”

At the end of 2013-2014 season it was obvious that Battier no longer had the capacity to fill the role Erik Spoelstra set forth for him two summers earlier.

He shot a career-low 38.2 percent from the floor, his 3-point accuracy dropped more than 8 percent from a year ago, and he routinely struggled to provide the same sort of defensive productivity that he’s been known for.

“My goals when I started this whole crazy thing, they weren’t to win championships or make the All-Defensive team,” Battier said during a recent interview with Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “It was to play 10 years and to be able to walk away from the game before the game kicked me out.”

He managed three more years than he’d bargained for, earning more than $56 million in salary and coming away with a pair of rings in the process.

As he leaves the league, Battier stands as one of 30 players in league history with at least 8,000 points, 4,000 rebounds, 900 blocks and 900 steals, a list that includes nine Hall of Famers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Julius Erving).

Battier spent 13 years in the NBA, playing for Memhis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, and Miami Heat.  He holds career averages of 8.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg in 30.7 mpg. Battier saw action in 977 career NBA games, starting in 705 of them.


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