CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Shane Battier signed with the Heat in the 2011 offseason, he saw Miami as a temporary home.
More than six years later, Battier is still a South Florida resident. And it doesn’t look like the 39 year-old Michigan native will be leaving any time soon after accepting a front office position with the Heat as the vice president of basketball development and analytics last year.
“There’s a community here that we love and we want to be a part of,” said Battier, who retired following the Heat’s appearance in the 2014 NBA Finals. “When we first got here, we didn’t think we were going to stay, to be honest with you. We didn’t know where we were going to end up, but we didn’t think we were South Floridians. But we love the community, we love the diversity, we love the energy of Miami. It’s home.”
Along with their love for South Florida, Battier and his wife, Heidi, also have a passion for helping others. They will host the sixth annual Battioke karaoke event at Ball & Chain, a live-music venue in Miami, on Tuesday to benefit their Take Charge Foundation and fund college scholarships and educational opportunities for underprivileged youth.
The annual Battioke events have raised over $1 million over the past eight years. The Take Charge Scholarship Program has awarded four-year college scholarships to 30 recipients in Miami, Houston and Detroit.
“We feel very strongly about opportunity,” Battier said. “And there are so many great kids in our community that just need an opportunity and a boost to reach their potential and make their dreams come true. My wife and I both feel strongly that education is the absolute best way to unlock that potential. And obviously, there are a lot of kids in our community that just don’t have the opportunity to reach their potential because the education opportunities are limited. It’s our job to create this opportunity and give special kids chances to go to college and reach their dreams.”
But Battier insists on having a good time while raising money, so that’s where Battioke comes in. Battier points to Chris Bosh singing Barry White’s “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” and Pat Riley singing a duet with Jimmy Buffett as some of his favorite moments from the karaoke event.
This year, Battier has something special planned for his performance.
“I always try to raise the bar and people always expect more,” he said with a laugh. “I think I’m thoroughly going to outdo myself this year by embarrassing myself. I can’t divulge what it is. You have to go to Battioke to actually see it. But I’m sure it will be a viral moment of the highest comedy.”
The karaoke-themed charity event benefits The Battier Take Charge Foundation, a non-profit organization established by the Battier family to fund college scholarships and educational opportunities for underprivileged youth. Details are available at takechargefoundation.org.