Shane Battier Accepts Invitation to American Century Championship, presented by American Century Investments, in Lake Tahoe as Part of Conference Call with Media

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Key cog in Miami Heat drive for NBA Championship talks about competing in the celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Charity Buzz and the Battier Take Charge Foundation.

Shane Battier, starting forward for the Miami Heat, as they battle the Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference Championship series, has accepted an invitation to compete in the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament at Lake Tahoe, July 20-22.

The 32 year-old Duke All American will be playing in the tournament for the fourth time. He will be raising money for LIVE STRONG and his own non-profit, the Battier Take Charge Foundation. The tournament, in its 23rd year is televised live by NBC Sports and the NBC Sports Network.

Here are some of Battier's highlight quotes from the conference call:

On how badly he wants the championship:

"Well at this point it’s not about numbers. It’s not about contracts. This is my 11th year in the league, I have about 2 or 3 more years left to play at this level. It is what I need and what I play for. So, it’s something that I really, really want."

On seeing Jason Kidd at the American Century Championship after Jason and the Dallas Mavericks had won the title:

"I didn't have to say anything. Just the smile on his face told the story. He said it was an unbelievable experience and he really couldn't put into words. It's something that I think all first-time champions go through. You don't really understand what being a champion is all about until you actually call yourself a champion. And I had that feeling back when I played at Duke in 2001 and I would like that feeling again as a member of the Miami Heat."

On his role for the Heat as the playoffs continue:

"My job really hasn’t changed sine day one. Go out and make plays. My game has never been defined by how many points I scored. My game has been defined by making basketball plays, whether that means taking a charge, grabbing the ball, playing tough defense or knocking down some three pointers. I don’t have to do anything out of the ordinary. I have to do what I do and do it better and with more effort and concentration now, because the margin for error is slim."

On the home court advantage in Miami:

"You know, home court in the playoffs is very important, obviously. Fans understand what the playoffs are all about because the intensity is ratcheted up. Miami is usually a late-arriving crowd but in the playoffs, they’re in their seats at tip off which is pretty awesome. It’s usually a scene to go to a Miami Heat basketball game. During these playoffs, it’s been a pretty tough place to play, because we have such great fans."

On the pressure of stepping onto the basketball court for a big game versus teeing off in front thousands at Lake Tahoe?

"Well, when I step on the basketball court I know I have trained for tens of thousands of hours for my job and that’s what I do and I feel confident I can do that job well.
Golf is not something that comes naturally to me, I don’t like to practice. I love to play, but I don’t like to practice, and so when I go out there, I don’t have the reputation that I have on a basketball court, so I am not going to lie. The first time you step out on the first tee and you’re overlooking the mountains and the lake – beautiful Lake Tahoe – you do get a little bit of nerves and then you start to shake a little bit. Once you get that first drive off and in play, you settle in."

On Tiger Woods and his swing:

"Well – it’s interesting -- when I heard Tiger at a press conference asked about his swing and swing changes, a lot of things resonate with me as a basketball player, because swings and basketball jump shots are very similar. They have to be in sync and they have to be fluid and they have to be performed without thinking about the actual mechanics. And that's what makes a pure golf swing and that's what makes a pure jump shot. Sometimes you can over-think a jump shot, just like you can over-think a golf swing. I did meet Tiger once at an Orlando Magic basketball game two years ago but I would love to just sit down and talk to him about the process because I agree with him - it’s an ever-evolving process as you get older. Your body ages and you have to make adjustments, so my jump shot now is different than it was 10 years ago, like Tiger’s golf swing."

On the athlete mentality and the possibility of Michael Jordan someday winning the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament:

"Well, you do understand that most professional athletes – all professional athletes -- have dedicated 15 to 25 years to perfecting their craft and all they know is that the ultimate scoreboard is wins and losses and that fuels the competitive fire that burns every single day. So, when you step away from that professional life, there is a huge, gaping hole –a void - left by the competitive juices from your sport. That’s why so many athletes gravitate to golf - because it does offer people a chance to be competitive. So, now, you get a bunch of alpha dogs at the American Century Championship. I don’t care what anyone says, everyone wants to win that thing, and everyone wants to perform well, if nothing else to talk trash and to stick your chest out. I would never bet against Michel Jordan. For my money, he’s the greatest player of all time and so I would not be surprised if he won this thing sooner rather than later."

On matching golf skills with Charles Barkley at the tournament in July:

"You know, that is my goal. As long as I can beat Chuck Barkley every year, life is okay. I can handle not being near the top, but the second Charles puts pressure on me, that’s when you know I seriously have to step off and am in bad shape. I don’t anticipate that. I think I could not pick up a golf club and then go to Lake Tahoe and play the tournament without one practice round, I still think that I could beat Charles Barkley. I am completely confident in that statement."

On getting Lebron, Dwyane and Chris Bosh out on the golf course:

"We actually had an appearance at Doral in Miami and we had a long drive contest and I don’t think Lebron tried hitting a golf ball. I think he wanted to try - - that guy can do anything if he wants to -- but he stuck to the putting green. Dwyane and Chris picked up a golf club and they were pretty bad – pretty terrible. Chris wants to learn to pick up golf; Dwyane says this is a stupid game. But, I would much rather have them be the superstars they are on the basketball court than work on their golf games."

On the Charity Package at Lake Tahoe:

"Well we’re offering a unique experience for anybody who wants to bid. It’s called the Shane Battier American Century Championship Experience and if you go to http://www.charitybuzz.com/support/ShaneTakeCharge, you can actually bid on an experience which includes tickets to every round of the American Century Championship (Fri-Sun, July 20-22), tickets to the Maroon 5 concert on Saturday night and a special one-on-one experience with Mrs. Battier and myself as we take in some of the finer points of Lake Tahoe and Harrah’s Casino, which may or may not involve some games of chance. It’s an opportunity for me to reach out and connect with some of my fans out there who enjoy golf, who enjoy basketball, who enjoy a good time. For the winning bidder, I promise you, you will have a fantastic time and all the money will be going to the Battier Take Charge Foundation, which raises funds for college scholarships. 100% of the proceeds raised go directly to the college scholarships in the Miami area, so please bid out on this package and help special kids in need go to college. "

On his fundraising initiative around making Pars at the American Century Championship tournament:

"We are continuing an initiative we started last year, called “Take Charge, Save Par.” For me, Par is a very big deal, I grind to get Pars while most people at Lake Tahoe grind to get Birdies. So, fans can pledge to donate a sum of money for every Par or better that I get at the Tournament. I did get one Birdie last year during the Century Championship and I got eight Pars. We raised over $35,000 that directly went to scholarship recipients for the Battier Take Charge Foundation. So we are excited. We have set double-digit Pars as a goal this year and we want to raise a lot more money and send more kids to school. So, sign on at my foundation’s website at http://www.takechargefounation.com. It should be good for a few laughs. I will match whatever is donated. So, please, sign up and support “Take Charge, Save Par.”

2012 AMERICAN CENTURY CHAMPIONSHIP
FACTS & FIGURES

WHAT:    The 23rd annual American Century Championship. With a purse of $600,000 and network television exposure, it’s the most prestigious celebrity tournament in golf. The 54-hole competition is for current and former professional athletes, entertainers and politicians. The tournament is contested under a modified Stableford format. http://www.Tahoecelebritygolf.com

WHEN:    Tournament week is July 16-22. Competition is Fri.-Sun, July 20-22

WHERE:    Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, site of the 1985 U.S. Senior Open
South Lake Tahoe, NV

WHO:    Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Tony Romo, Ray Romano, Marshall Faulk, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Jason Kidd, Shane Battier and defending champion Jack Wagner plus first-time players Jason Witten, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miles Austin, Christian Ponder, Donald Driver and Shawne Merriman.

PRIZE MONEY:    Total Purse - $600,000

  •     Winner - $125,000
  •     Second Place - $50,000
  •     Third Place - $35,000

LIVE TV COVERAGE:
Friday, July 20     4-7 p.m. ET/1-4 p.m. PT on NBC Sports Network
Saturday, July 21    3-6 p.m. ET/Noon-3 p.m. PT on NBC
Sunday, July 22    3-6 p.m. ET/Noon-3 p.m. PT on NBC     

TITLE SPONSOR:    American Century Investments

HOST SPONSOR:    Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

HOST HOTEL:    Harrah’s Lake Tahoe

MEDIA CONTACTS: Steve Griffith, Vizion Group PR, 484 433 7757, sgriffith(at)viziongroup(dot)net & Phil Weidinger, Weidinger PR, dinger(at)weidingerpr(dot)com, 775 588 2412

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Steve Griffith
American Century Investments
(484) 433-7757
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Steve Griffith
Vizion Group
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