Sunday 20th August 2017,
Sports Alchemist
Spotlight

Memphis Grizzlies: “No-Stats Superstar” Celebrates

With still three seconds left in regulation, Shane Battier raised his arms up with closed fists in victory. All the fiery emotions, doubts and uncertainties have all been answered.

This is an extra special win for Shane.

The Grizzlies as a franchise only went three times to the playoffs from 2004 to 2006, and all three ended up with a 0-4 sweep in the first round. Shane was there when they were humiliated, bruised up and ridiculed. He could still remember all those frustrations as they shook their heads down with disappointment.

5 years after, Shane came back to Memphis carrying a sense of urgency and undeterred determination. He bowed to never feel the way it all ended up on his last playoff trip when he was part of the Grizzlies.

Back then they have Pau Gasol, Damon Stoudemire and Eddie Jones for their offense, and now they only have Zach Randolph, and a casts of role players. He was never the vocal type but Shane feels this is the time to change the team’s identity. They have the size, the versatility and youth and somehow, someone has to step up and lead this team. He was never the same breath like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, but he was always the person assigned to guard them.

Shane was dubbed as the “No-Stats Superstar”—neglecting personal achievements and offense just to help his team. He was there drawing charges, setting up picks and guarding the best player on the opposing team. I remember one crucial game when Shane asks his coach to bench him after seeing Kobe Bryant getting subbed in the game. It was always his unselfishness that became his best asset.

Shane knew if they ever get past the first round, they will have to embrace the sense of unselfishness. They will have to play as a team, fight every game like it’s their last. That’s his mentality and he wants them to embrace that thought, getting them tough physically and mentally.

Their win against San Antonio, not only made history—as the fourth eight seeded team to win a first round playoff series. But it was extra sweet to them since it was the Spurs that swept them in the 2004 playoffs.

Shane Battier with his arms raised and his fists closed celebrated this bittersweet victory. It’s still a long way to go before the finals and there is no way to relax against the much younger and athletic Oklahoma City Thunders. But for a moment it was something to cherish.

For once this was a time to celebrate and get selfish. They made history and they rightfully deserve it.

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Jess Matthew Beltran

Jess has contributed a thousand plus articles to various international and local sports sites. He is still finishing up an e-book which talks about basketball and life. Message him at [email protected]

Jess Matthew Beltran

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Jess Matthew Beltran

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Jess has contributed a thousand plus articles to various international and local sports sites. He is still finishing up an e-book which talks about basketball and life. Message him at [email protected]