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Shane Battier: There will be a female NBA player in our lifetime

Shane Battier believes the NBA will have a female player, and it won’t take too long for that to happen.

The topic of females in the NBA came up this week after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he would consider selecting Baylor’s Brittney Griner in the draft. Though UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma thinks such a move would be just a publicity stunt, Battier feels differently.

“There’s no doubt that in our lifetime, there will be a woman NBA player,” Battier told ESPN Thursday.

“I don’t know if it’s Griner or if it’s someone who is 5 years old right now. But we’ll see it. It’ll happen in our lifetime. Just the law of averages.”

Battier also thinks that the first female player in the NBA would likely be a quick, athletic guard rather than a taller, lankier player like Griner. His reasoning makes sense; Griner’s height allows her to dominate against female competition, but she would be undersized playing against men. A fast guard who can keep up with quick men wouldn’t have to worry about a strength issue as much as Griner would.

Part of the reason Battier is confident this will happen is because he plays pickup games with women. If he knows how well they can compete in pickup games, then why should we doubt his prediction? All it takes is one supreme specimen to come along and change everything.

Shane Battier dunks for first time in four years, says it’s for ‘suburban dads’ (Video)

Shane-Battier-Heat-dunkShane Battier has primarily been a jump-shooter throughout most of his career. His role with the Miami Heat has consisted of coming off the bench and trying to knock down a few big shots, which is something Battier was able to do last season en route to a championship. However, a dunker he is not.

During a win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night, Battier dunked in a regular season game for the first time in four years. The 34-year-old sprung free on a fast break, took a bounce pass from Dwyane Wade and slammed it home. The former Duke Blue Devil made it look easy, but that didn’t stop him from poking fun at himself after the game.

“That one is for all the suburban Dads out there,” Battier said according to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post. “I might release a DVD of that.”

That might not be a bad idea if he wants to savor the moment. Considering he is entering the back end of his career and had not dunked since age 30 prior to Monday, that could very well be the last dunk we will see from Battier as an NBA player.

Chest bump to The Big Lead

Shane Battier says Duke was more of a hated team than the Heat

Shane Battier knows more than most athletes about being on a team that people despise. A little over a week ago, he won a championship with arguably the most hated team in NBA history. Over a decade ago, Battier cut down the nets with probably the most hated team in college basketball history. The obvious question to ask a guy like Battier is which team receives more negative attention: the Heat or the Blue Devils. His answer may surprise some.

“The biggest difference was when I played at Duke I never saw one Battier jersey in an opposing arena,” Battier said during an interview with WFNZ in Charlotte. “Being the guy at the time, I looked around and never saw one. At least in these arenas that we go to now, in every city there’s some LeBron and Wade jerseys out there so the vitriol was pretty thick but talking to the guys it wasn’t as deep-rooted and as thick as it was a year ago.

“I think people appreciated, if you’re a basketball fan there’s no way you couldn’t appreciate the way our team played especially LeBron and the year that he had, so I think we won a lot of people over with our style of play.”

I disagree. Heat haters are Heat haters — Miami’s style of play didn’t win them over. The difference stems from the fact that college basketball fans are far more rabid than NBA fans. If you go to a playoff game in Miami or anywhere else in the country, you might see guys like Lil Wayne, David Ortiz, Charlie Sheen or Alex Rodriguez sitting under the basket. In college arenas, the stands are loaded with students who want nothing more than to be able to celebrate a championship during their collegiate careers.

Simply put, it’s a matter of loyalty and commitment — not the Heat winning fans over with their style of play. As a whole, college fans simply seem to care more.

Photo credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Serge Ibaka calls Shane Battier a ‘big-time’ flopper (Video)

The refereeing has been a major point of contention during the NBA playoffs this year (any time ESPN hires Steve Javie to be its “referee analyst,” things can’t be all fine and dandy), and the shameful amount of flopping we’ve witnessed has been a big part of that.

So, at Thunder practice on Wednesday, Serge Ibaka was asked by ESPN True Hoop’s Henry Abbott who the biggest flopper in the NBA Finals is, and Ibaka labeled Shane Battier a “big-time” one.

“He is a big-time (flopper) … Every time he’s on the court, he’s tries to flop,” the Thunder big man said. “Before you touch him, he is ready to go, you know. We have to be careful on him because he’s a big-time flopper.”

It’s important to note that Ibaka was asked about Battier rather than he being the one who brought Battier’s name up. But Ibaka was still the one who gave the Heat forward the “big-time” tag. This wouldn’t be the first time a member of the Thunder has been peeved by Battier this series. And we’re only on Game 2.

Ibaka also said the Mario Chalmers and his own teammate Derek Fisher were bad floppers as well. And given their Best Supporting Actor-worthy performances last night, you can’t blame him for that answer.

Russell Westbrook: Shane Battier trying to ‘punk me’ led to second half explosion

The Thunder erased a 13-point deficit to come back and beat the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night, and Russell Westbrook’s monster second half was a big reason why. After scoring a modest nine points in the first half, Westbrook went off for 18 in the second.  He appeared to be playing with a purpose, and the Thunder guard said his exchange with Shane Battier that you see above is what led to that.

“That’s all I need every once in a while,” Westbrook said after the game according to Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t know what he was thinking. I needed something. We needed something.”

Westbrook finished with nearly a triple-double, as he also added 11 assists and eight rebounds. Durant scored 36, but you could argue that it was Westbrook who was the difference maker in the game.

As for whether or not Battier tried to “punk” him, it doesn’t really appear that way. If anything, it was Westbrook who was acting out of line while Battier was trying to get to the baseline to inbound the ball. But if that’s what it takes for Westbrook to turn into an animal, I’m sure Thunder fans will gladly welcome it.

H/T I Am a GM