Since the last time Shane Battier wiggled into a dress at the Little Havana nightspot Ball & Chain, he’s gotten a promotion. But if you think that being the Miami Heat’s director of basketball development and analytics will keep him away from indulging his fun side, think again.
The eighth annual Battioke will return to Ball & Chain on Tuesday, Jan. 23, for a night of karaoke by a parade of athletes and celebrities taking the stage to raise money for Battier’s Take Charge Foundation, which helps at-risk students realize dreams of a college education. Open to the public, this is the rescheduled version of the original 2017 event postponed by Hurricane Irma.
The 2016 Battioke included tortured renditions of your favorite pop songs by Heat godfather Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra, former NFL and Miami Hurricanes great Bryant McKinnie, NBA commentator and former Duke teammate Jay Williams and many others. But the highlight of the evening was Heat broadcaster Jason Jackson doing “Time of My Life” from “Dirty Dancing,” a duet with Battier in a stunning, leg-baring frock.
Co-hosting the event with wife Heidi, Battier expects more of the same this time out, though he’s not making any promises on the dress.
“We’re going to give the people what they want. Entertain them with some pretty awful and awesome karaoke,” Battier says by phone from his office at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The lineup of performers always comes together at the last minute, Battier says, acknowledging that Tuesday is an off night for the Heat. One local celebrity he hopes to get onstage one day is WWE mountain man the Big Show.
“He would no doubt be the biggest Battioke performer of all time. And he might be the best,” Battier says, laughing.
But at its heart, Battioke is serious business, raising more than $200,000 in 2016. The Take Charge Foundation currently has 16 students in its national scholarship program, including four from South Florida. New this year is a mentorship program at Miami Central High School called G.U.I.D.E. (an acronym for Getting Underserved Individuals Direction in Education), that Battier says will send 23 students to college of fully paid scholarships.
He says acceptance into the program is based on merit, need and motivation.
“They have to show the desire and passion to go to college and to eventually give back, and pay it forward and help those that follow them at Miami Central and in the Miami area,” Battier says.
A model of how the program works can be found in former Miami Central student David Green, who recently graduated from the University of Florida.
“He was a former member of a gang, but had shown a love for robotics and academia, and was able to tell the people in his environment, ‘Look, I have huge aspirations,’ ” Battier says. “Not only did he graduate, but he graduated with honors and now works in Silicon Valley for a tech firm.
“Not too many people would have given a guy like David a chance … but he proved everyone wrong. He serves as a main inspiration for all of us and wanting to do more, to find more David Greens to send to college, and make this world a better place.” Battier says.
Despite his added duties in the Heat front office, Battier says he never considered dialing back his involvement in the Take Charge Foundation or Battioke.
“No matter what I do, I am a citizen of the community I live in. This is my family values, being part of a community, and making it better,” Battier says.
Of course, something had to give. “I think my golf game has suffered a little bit,” he says, laughing, “but that’s OK.”