Former Blue Devil Shane Battier became an NBA champion last night, scoring 11 points in Game Five of the Finals as the Heat quieted the Thunder, 121-106. With the victory, Battier added “NBA champion” to a resume that already included three-time high school state champion, NCAA national champion and college basketball’s all-time winningest player.
Shane saved his best basketball for the playoffs and The Finals in particular. The 2001 National Player of the Year averaged 11.6 PPG against OKC (4th on the Heat in scoring) while shooting an unbelievable 57.7% (15-for-26) from three-point range. Shane scored 17 points in Game One and Game Two of the Finals and knocked down multiple 3′s in four of the five games during the series. The three-time National Defensive Player of the Year at Duke played his usual lockdown defense all series, tasked with guarding the likes of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Shane started all five Finals games, averaging 37.4 MPG while committing only one turnover.
In helping the Heat past NY, Indiana, Boston and OKC, Battier became just the 39th player to win both an NCAA title and an NBA Championship. Shane shared both of those championships with Nick Arison, who served as a Duke Basketball team manager and Shane’s roommate at Duke. Arison, now CEO of the Heat, helped recruit Shane to the Heat before the season began. The friends realized a dream last night that gained momentum in and around Cameron Indoor Stadium.