For the first time in Battioke history, party host Shane Battier is out to win the celebrity-strewn charity karaoke event March 3 at the Fillmore Miami Beach. This time, Battier says, it's personal.
Are you listening, Kobe?
"I've had a lot of battles with Kobe Bryant. He's been my foil," Battier says. And the song? "It would be 'Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor, going up against Kobe Bryant. He would know what that's about."
In case you think this is an empty boast, know that Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers will be in town March 3 for a game the next day against the Heat. Bryant is injured and won't play.
"I wonder if he'll get the memo to come out to Battioke," Battier says with a laugh.
South Beach Battioke 2015 is the fourth annual fundraising event hosted by Battier and his wife, Heidi (the first was in Houston, where Battier once played). The evening raises funds for the nonprofit Battier Take Charge Foundation, which awards college scholarships to top-performing, underprivileged high school students in Miami, Houston and his hometown of Detroit.
The foundation, which partners locally with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, encourages students to, in the words of Battier's personal motto, "Do Well, Do Good."
"We are looking to change the fortunes of first-generation collegegoers and their journey toward success," Battier says. "We believe in opportunity. There are so many people in the world who can do so many positive things, change the world, and all they need is an opportunity."
The Miami resident calls the Heat "a fantastic team" when it comes to "community-conscious" outreach. Saluting in particular the efforts of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Battier also appreciates the unsung efforts of Udonis Haslem.
"Udonis really helps a lot of people," Battier says. "He likes to have a low profile with his charity work, but Mr. 305 is truly Mr. 305 in so many regards."
Battier retired last year after 13 seasons in the NBA, the final three with the Heat. The former Duke University star is now a college basketball analyst for ESPN. And he's taking karaoke more seriously.
"In years past, I spent so much time shaking hands and taking pictures. This is my event, and this year I'm stepping in, and I'm trying to win the Battioke crown," Battier says with more mock bravado.
It helps that he won't be facing either of the past South Beach Battioke champions, 2014 winner James Jones, now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and 2013 champ Chris Bosh, recovering from a blood clot.
"You never want to see a friend hurting. Just cheering for him and sending positive thoughts his way," Battier says of Bosh.
Battier says his Battioke song will be a surprise, but offers a hint: Think one-hit wonder from the 1990s. Along with the classic swing of Sinatra and the soul sounds of Al Green, Battier, 36, says the '90s created the "soundtrack for my life."
"I'm all over the board, from Notorious B.I.G. to Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, Tupac," he says, acknowledging that his satellite radio toggles between Lithium, Bluesville, techno and several country stations. "All over the map."
Similarly, Battier says to expect the unexpected at the Fillmore March 3. He has some "special guests" lined up, along with his former Heat teammates and a few Miami Dolphins.
"The beauty of this event is that it's completely organic. It's not contrived at all. It really is like going to a karaoke bar," he says. "When people first get there, everyone's a little shy. But by the end of the night, they're fighting over the mike."
Are you listening, Kobe?
The South Beach Battioke fundraiser will begin 9 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave. Tickets cost $175 in advance at TakeChargeFoundation.org, $250 at the door. Tickets include light bites and a cocktail hour. Doors will open at 7:30 p.m.