At this point, we all know Shane Battier, a super smart, hard-working small forward who used to not get recognized for his contributions but is now kind of overvalued because we all assume we must be missing something. He used to be a bit of unknown, but ever since Michael Lewis’ New York Times profile, he’s been a household name for basketball nerds.
However, if it weren’t for the bad handwriting of a nurse, we’d be talking about Shane Battle. From an interview in China, via SLAM:
“My dad, Eddie Battle, born Eddie Battle, on his birth certificate, whoever wrote it down wrote B-A-T-T-scribble-scribble-scribble. So my dad grew up Eddie Battle his entire life, and then he joined the army when he was of age, the army recruiter actually had his own interpretation of what was on the birth certificate. They wrote down B-A-T-T-I-E-R.
So the first day in the army, my dad says ‘Private Battle reporting for duty.’ The sergeant said, ‘There’s no Battle, there’s a Battier (ed. note: pronounced ‘batty-er’).’ So my dad says, ‘That’s not my name.’ The sergeant says, ‘Well Uncle Sam says it is.’ So my dad kept it.
So he was Eddie Battier (still ‘batty-er’), and he met his wife, my mom, in ’75 and she said, ‘It looks French. We’ll call it French.’ So from that point on they were Battier (bat-ee-ay). So I’m a first generation Battier.”
What a great story. Looks like we finally have a nickname for Shane Battier. “Battle” even fits him pretty well, what with the hard work and all. This is awesome.
But little did Shane Battier’s mom know that 30 years later J.E. Skeets would pronounce this new last name in the most Canadian way possible — “Batch-yay” — thereby changing the family name once again. Nice postscript.