As Duke Athletics wraps up yet another successful calendar year, we wanted to look back at interviews with inductees of the Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2016—Individuals who not only contributed to the university’s achievements, but laid the foundation for those to follow.
Today’s feature highlights our conversation with men’s basketball star Shane Battier.
Shane again, so much on and off the court with you from an accomplishments perspective here at Duke and obviously in your NBA career as well, but focusing mostly on the collegiate atmosphere, what advice do you have for current student athletes on how to attain that type of balance and that type of success that you had while you were here?
Well I looked at it as, the reason why I came to Duke was the opportunity and the access that Duke affords. I would be doing myself a huge disservice if I didn’t take advantage of every opportunity and that meant taking classes I never thought I wanted to, I never knew I had an interest in, meeting people and that’s what makes Duke special. It’s that there are so many people who want to do big things in the world. Meet those people, have lunch with those people, become one of those people, and that’s all I tried to do. It was an amazing opportunity and I am thankful for every second that I did.
You had a ton of success on the court here at Duke, but in ’01 you guys won the National Championship, so maybe just focusing on that year, what made that team so special, what allowed you guys to capitalize that season?
Toughness. That was a tough group of dudes. It really was. Obviously, we had five pros, and some really, really talented players, but we had toughness about our group that allowed for us to have real conversations. There wasn’t a lot of conjecture or mincing of words. We were able to talk to each other, communicate, and demand out of each other - look, do your job, and the accountability that we all held each other [to] was special. I hadn’t played with too many teams like that ever. When you have talent, and you have accountability, and the toughness, the sky is the limit, and it was for that team.
Lastly for you Shane, the Duke Basketball brotherhood, there’s a number of you all now in the Duke athletics Hall of Fame. What does it feel like to be a part of not only the people that have been inducted, but really the whole family?
I am very proud. I am very proud to call myself a Duke Basketball alum. If you spend time with anyone who has played in this program in the K era [Krzyzewski], the Pre-K era, there is just a common understanding of playing in Cameron, going to school here, what it takes to be successful, and if you make it through, you’ve done something. It’s something we’re all very, very proud of. It’s really special to get with these guys and share war stories, and argue who had the best team, which I think we had the best team, but that’s just me. It’s one of the best parts of playing for Duke Basketball.