There are some players in the Association who stand out amongst all their competitors. Not for their talents, or incredible shots, but for their hustle and ferocity on the court. These are the type of players that are praised by coaches but receive little fanfare for their efforts. They will never lead the league in All Star votes or be named the MVP, but their efforts are more than appreciated by teammates.
These players give every ounce of energy in their bodies going after loose balls, or fighting for the offensive rebound. They walk off the court bruised and limping, possibly with blood pouring out of some portion of their body. They take the charge from a player storming towards the bucket with intent to harm. They give their team a morale boost by coming up with the key steal or shutting down the opponent’s best scorer.
One of these men in particular is Shane Battier. Battier, now deemed a “Kobe-stopper”, is a fundamentally sound basketball player who won’t cost his team, but will increase the probability of winning. He salivates at the opportunity to guard the opponent’s best player (like Ginobili or Kobe) and hold his game down to bearable amounts. He will knock down the 3-point shot or sprint the length court on a fast break for the easy lay-up. Shane Battier should be, if not loved, then respected by anyone who watches basketball.