This video started it all. This two minute and 10 second promo video is what catapulted what is now titled Battioke into the nation, extending far beyond the 305 area code and Miami Heat crazed fans. All for good reason, and even better cause.
NBA fans and do-gooders aside, this off-pitch singing soiree has reached even the White House. “It was surreal to be honest with you,” says Miami Heat forward Shane Battier. “We always knew Battioke was a fun event. We got a lot of coverage around the country, but to reach the Office of the White House, part of the national consciousness, it’s pretty amazing,” President Obama even dispensed lyrical advice, warning the Heat at their White House visit earlier this month to “leave Al Green to the pros,” as quoted in a recent Huffington Post article.
“It’s awesome, it’s such a great cause. The kids we send to school are worth the effort and the energy to put this event together,” Battier says of the extreme popularity the event has gained most recently. Scheduled to take place January 27th at The Fillmore Miami Beach, this isn’t Battier’s first rodeo with karaoke. I first met Shane at a local bar in Houston when he was with the Houston Rockets. Christian’s Tailgate, located in Houston’s popular nightlife district of Midtown, was Battier’s regular place to rock out to karaoke.
What was once called Clutch City Karaoke while in Houston, quickly became Battioke once Shane and his wife Heidi restarted the star-studded charity event in Miami. “We did it one year (in Houston) and it was a fantastic event and the next year I got traded to Memphis so I couldn’t hold the event. Someone said ‘You should call it Battioke’ and I said that does have a better ring to it, so when I moved to Miami we changed the name,” Battier explains.
“It’s something my wife and I always enjoyed doing. Neither one of us can sing,” Battier says of the hobby turned charity event. “We have a professional karaoke setup at our house, we get a big group of people and that’s what we end up doing. I have over 20k songs. It’s just fun.”
The twelve-year NBA veteran probably shoots better threes than he does belting out the tunes, but it’s all in good fun, he says. “Karaoke isn’t about your voice, it’s about your confidence and having fun. That’s why Battioke is a really fun event, people cutting lose and just having fun.”
The Miami Heat are no stranger to having fun. “I don’t know if you know this or not, but my teammates are not shy. They are not wallflowers. When it all came together it was comical,” Battier says of his teammates’ enthusiasm at shooting the viral promo as well as planning for the big event on the 27th.
As for who he’s most looking forward to seeing on stage at this year’s annual event, Battier just laughs. “Every year Dwyane Wade, Lebron and Chris Bosh bring it. Chris Bosh has a really underrated sense of humor; he won Battioke last year with an unbelievable Barry White’esque version of ‘My First, My Last, My Everything.’ If Barry White were a Vegas lounge singer…” he trails off in laughter.
But it seems last year’s title holder may have some stiff competition. “The dark horse this year is Greg Oden, big Greg Oden. He loves to karaoke, so we’re going to see what he has this year,” Battier says.
As for the promo video we can’t stop watching, Battier had some help on that. “I worked with the Miami Heat video crew essentially – we had meetings and we really challenged the script writer. We had the idea of doing a behind-the-look scenes of what it takes to prepare for Battioke – all the work and the time and effort that goes into getting ready for one single night of the year. That was sort of our theme, that’s why I was in the powder blue tux in the weight room, preparing myself mentally – I have the world’s greatest teammates who are down for anything – they were fantastic as well.”
As funny as the video is, people may have forgotten there is a very noble cause behind all the out-of-tune singing and afro wigs: The Battier Take Charge Foundation. The annual karaoke event benefits Shane and Heidi Battier’s charity, whose mission is to send deserving kids to college.
“Both my wife and I think college is such a transformative time, you learn so much about yourself. It’s not necessarily the academia part – you learn to be your own person, you learn to take charge of who you are while in college. Everyone should be able to experience college. There are numerous kids out there who want to go to college and get a degree but don’t have the means,” Battier says of their mission. Last year the event raised over $150,000, and this year they’re hoping to raise $300-400k, at least doubling it.
Last time we spoke, we talked about Battier’s place as the 7th smartest man in sports (according to Sporting News), which he attributes a lot to his college days at Duke, but far beyond that as well. “I’m not the smartest guy — I think I have really good awareness, I work really hard and I listen. I try to be thoughtful. Whether it’s your family life or a basketball career, that thoughtfulness and awareness can make you better,” Battier says. A man who talks the talk and walks the walk behind the words of wisdom on his Twitter bio, which reads: Trying to do well and do good.
Miami Heat owner Micky Arison will also be in attendance at this year’s Battioke. “Micky has been a great supporter of Battioke the last three years and we’ve yet to get him to sing, but you never know this could be the year…” Battier says.
I did get Battier to tell me what song he’d want Arison to sing, if he somehow found his way on stage: Baby Got Back.
“It’d be the most organic moment, at Battioke ever, maybe the most important, if Micky got up and sang Baby Got Back,” Battier laughs just picturing such an image.
Battier is just as vocal about his adoration for karaoke as for his love of Bud Light, so I couldn’t resist finding out if it was still his favorite beer. “Yep, the people in St. Louis that work for Anheuser Busch do a fantastic job always, and I’m appreciative of their efforts and will always be a proud supporter of Bud Light and the family of Anheuser Busch products.”
As the Huffington Post put it, “you know you want the honor of seeing the sports world’s next viral YouTube happen live,” so get your tickets today at Battioke.com for $150.
“It will be a special night and it may change your life forever. Tickets are limited, so if you’re planning on going, I’d buy them today,” Battier closes.
Well Mr. Battier, after yet another successful charity event, you surely deserve an ice cold one. Maybe two.
Follow Shane and Heidi’s Battioke event and charity on Twitter: @shanetakecharge
Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.
Jayme recently interviewed NFL cheerleader Charo.