This year, he was rewarded for his efforts by other NBA players, as announced by the Heat's official Twitter feed:
The team also celebrated his achievement on Instagram:
Quite frankly, the voting wasn't even close, per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Battier's 67 first-place nominations were well ahead of Chris Paul's 40, and Pau Gasol was the only other player on the right side of 30. But not only first-place votes count, and that allowed the Miami small forward to increase his margin of victory.
Here were the final standings, excluding those who didn't finish in the top five. First-place votes are in parentheses:
- Shane Battier, 1,322 points (67)
- Al Jefferson, 798 points (29)
- Dirk Nowitzki, 784 points (28)
- Chris Paul, 754 points (40)
- Pau Gasol, 753 points (36)
As Vivlamore writes, "It [the award] recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and his commitment and dedication to his team."
Anyone who's interacted with Battier shouldn't be too surprised by this result. He's a model teammate during games and practices, and he spends plenty of off-court time serving as a quality example for every player in the Association. I mean, this was his most recent tweet when the award was announced:
This type of attitude is in no way disingenuous. Erik Spoelstra, the Miami head coach, certainly doesn't think so:
And as for Battier himself, he had nothing but gratitude after he was made aware of the honor:
Love or hate the Heat, you have to acknowledge that Battier, who now joins Chauncey Billups as one of only two recipients of the young award, is a worthy winner.
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