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Bump 'N Run: Stuart Scott with Shane Battier
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[Ed's. Note: Stu and Shane had so much fun together that we couldn't fit it all in The Magazine. Here's the transcript of Bump 'N Run from the June 11 issue of The Mag, followed by outtakes that didn't appear in print.]

Stuart Scott: So you heard about my commencement speech at UNC?

Shane Battier: Yes. Great job. It rivaled the two greatest speeches our country has ever heard: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream.

SS: Are you setting me up here, Shane? Tell me the truth.

SB: [Laughs] Those speeches had more powerful moments, but they both used nouns, verbs, adjectives, the occasional prepositional phrase, and you used nouns, verbs, adjectives and the occasional prepositional phrase. It showed me Carolina isn't such a bad school after all.

SS: We do a little academics there.

SB: Which is surprising. So, yeah, I liked it a lot.

SS: You heard about the part where I mentioned you? I said, "Shane Battier has been granted permission to go back and play college ball as long as he likes because Duke players aren't that good in the NBA."

SB: Oh, I got the full alert.

SS: There's a class we all took on hating Duke players. Do you have a similar class?

SB: Yes. It's called Hate the Player, Not the Game.

SS: What's your take on Vince Carter's decision to get his degree?

SB: I applaud him. It showed his true life priorities.

SS: Does his 20-point performance and missing the last shot open him up to criticism?

SB: He'd be at the mercy of the fans, his teammates and the media regardless of what happened.

SS: Any way MJ drafts Shane Battier? Because if he does, we're going to have to take his alumni card away.

SB: I grew up in Detroit, so I hated the Bulls. If he doesn't hold being a Dookie against me, I won't hold being a Bull against him.

SS: The NBA draft has become a fashion show. Do you have your draft-night gear lined up?

SB: I do. An off-green-and-beige pinstripe.

SS: Three buttons? Four? Five?

SB: Three buttons.

SS: Conservative, but that's what you have to be if you're a future president.

SB: Exactly.

SS: Go with this. What about an old pair of jeans hanging off your butt, Tommy Hilfiger underwear showing at the top, with a big old baggy shirt, hat turned sideways and cornrows?

SB: Maybe ... in my next life.

[Ed's. Note: The outtakes start here.]

SS: You have to admit that I gave you props doing highlights, did I not?

SB: No question.

SS: I always gave Jason Williams props, did I not?

SB: Yes.

SS: As much as it pained me. And it did pain me. In the speech, I had scripted it at one point to say "Hey, Shane's a good guy. I've met him and he's a down-to-earth guy." But I just couldn't bring myself to get those words out. Not because I didn't feel them but because I was in front of 35,000 Carolina alums and their families.

SB: I understand.

SS: I would have been tarred and feathered.

SB: I understand the game of politics as well. I won't hold it against you.

SS: Everybody gave you your props this year. Player of the Year in college basketball, recognized as the best all-around player. But because you went to Duke, and everybody also knows you are a smart guy, you do get people who give you good-natured jabs like I gave you in the speech. It's an interesting dilemma. I mean people take jabs at you because you're smart.

SB: It's interesting. [Laughs] I have always found it easy to laugh at myself first. I haven't taken myself so seriously that I can't laugh when someone makes a joke about my wrinkled head or the fact that I get pretty decent grades.

SS: Pretty decent?

SB: 3.5

SS: 3.5. Pretty decent. That's Duke right there. Pretty decent is 3.5. At Carolina 3.5 is whoa, dog! I can't believe I got a 3.5!! I got a 3.6 one semester. It was the fall of my senior year. I was playing football and I put together a step show. The best one semester I had. 3.6 for me was the top of the world. For you, it's pretty decent.

SB: When people say that stuff about me I take it as the ultimate sign of respect. I try to do things the right way. It looks odd in today's society when someone respects others and tries to make the right decisions on a daily basis. But that's what I try to do. If people appreciate that and want to make a little fun of it, I can take it.

SS: The joke I had in the speech was emailed to me but it had another part that I didn't use. That was the bit about how Shane is very smart and you can tell because he wears his brains on the outside of his head. As funny as that is as a Duke-Carolina joke, I didn't think it was appropriate or fair to use it in the speech. Jokes are one thing but comments about how someone looks are another.

SB: No question. A lot has been made of the Shar-Pei head [Laughs]. But you know what? It's out of my control the way I look and the way my body was formed. I'm confident in the way I look. And on some days, I'm actually a pretty good-looking guy.

SS: For a Dukie.

SB: So I've been told, anyway. But I think there is a line. If people want to make fun of people's physical characteristics, it's different than joking about other things.

SS: Does it bother you more?

SB: Not really. I figure if they're making fun of the way I look, then they can't find anything else to poke at me for. That means I must be doing something right in this world. [Laughs]

SS: Have you ever worn an afro?

SB: Actually, I did. Around '83-84, I did rock the afro.

SS: '83-84 I was rockin' that shag kind of afro. More in the back of the head.

SB: It was like Lionel Richie.

SS: That's exactly it!

SS: Well, you know how everything is retro?

SB: Yeah.

SS: And Vince wore an afro at the Olympics. Any chance that you'll get started in the NBA rockin' that shag-Afro hybrid again?

SB: I would say slim to ... quite slim.

SS: What do you think might be your first rookie hazing request?

SB: Oh, god.

SS: Everybody knows about carrying all the duffel bags. Are you prepared to sing the Duke alma mater? Does Duke have an alma mater?

SB: Yes, they do.

SS: It's probably in Latin.

SB: Probably. A bit over my head right now. As far as what I might do next year, I'm pretty open. Whatever it is, I know it will be pretty humiliating. But I can laugh at myself so I have no problem doing it. Some sort of song in a public setting would be my guess.

SS: One of your assistant coaches said, "When most people come to college, they come as kids and we have to teach them to be men. But Shane came as a man and we had to teach him to be a little kid." What does that mean?

SB: When I came to Duke, I was very set in my ways. I was very serious in school. I was serious in basketball. And my social life was not as important as the other two and so I was a little bit introverted. I don't think I enjoyed life as much. I looked at life as some sort of work to be done. I didn't savor the moment. What I learned at Duke was to laugh at yourself. Laugh often. Smile a lot. Life is pretty good. I probably smiled more my senior year than the first 20 years of my life. I realized that I have it pretty darn good. I have worked hard to get to this point. All that work would be futile if I didn't stop to enjoy it.

SS:Would you like to see Michael Jordan come back if you have to face him on the Wizards?

SB: No question. That's every person's dream who grew up watching him. To be on the court.

SS: If he talked trash, would you talk back?

SB: That'd be tough. Depends what he says.

SS: Do you usually talk back?

SB: Not a lot of people talked to me in college. Maybe I let them know in the right way to be quiet.

SS: Is that using words or sticking a 3 in their face?

SB: A little of both.

SS: Everybody wants to know about the Duke-North Carolina rivalry. I have tried to explain that it has nothing to do with winning basketball games. It has everything to do with Duke guys coming to our campus and dating our women and we go to Duke's campus and date their women. Am I right or am I right?

SB: It's more a territorial battle than it is just pure basketball. It's like two lions on the Serengeti. You see the other lion cross onto your property, you're going to be pretty steamed about it.

SS: You hear it a lot but ... do you want to be president of the United States some day?

SB: I don't know what I will end up doing post-basketball. I've always been intrigued by politics. I may be a bit too idealistic to run for office. We'll see.

SS: You don't have any skeletons in your closet?

SB: The biggest skeleton would be the high-top fade I had in the sixth grade. But everyone went through that so I don't feel that bad.

SS: George W. didn't go through it. To our knowledge, anyway. Maybe George W. did have a high-top fade. Down in Texas back in the day.

SB: You never know.



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