Heat forward Shane Battier, who is considered one of the NBA's best defenders over the past decade, played for the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets before joining Miami before this season.
He played college basketball at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski and is playing in the first NBA Finals of his career.
Q: How do you approach guarding Kevin Durant?
A: “You start out Sunday morning in church. Say three Hail Marys. I've got some Buddha beads. You pray to all the gods.
“He's a tough cover. He's a guy who I have the ultimate respect for. Outside of my own team, I think he's the best player in the league. He's hungry. He's relentless.”
Where does he rank among all the great players you've covered in your career?
“He's up there. I've seen his growth from his rookie year, and obviously his talent is unparalleled. But now he's starting to understand the game. Not just scoring baskets, but how to be a basketball player. When supremely athletic and talented guys figure that out, that's when it's game over.”
What have you learned about LeBron James this year that you didn't know before?
“He's a lot more human than I think his marketing presence suggests. He's really the first star of the information/digital age. Everything he does is documented and analyzed and second-guessed. I think it dehumanizes him in a lot of regards. When I got here, he's a lot more normal and down to earth than I think most people would ever think.
“You guys don't get to see him like we get to see him in the locker room and on team planes and buses.
“He doesn't drink beer, but if he did, he's the type of guy you'd like to have a beer with. I like beer, so I'll drink for him.”
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