Shane Battier was one of those athletes that you thought would be a mortal lock to be a great television analyst. Not good, great. Battier had the look, he had the smarts, he had the personality, he had the popularity, he had the pedigree. The total package. All of that remains true… except the great television analyst part.
After a very brief spell with ESPN, The Big Lead reports that Battier is leaving the network to pursue other endeavors and ESPN has confirmed the departure.
When ESPN brought Battier on board after his NBA playing days to be a basketball analyst, it was seen as a shrewd move. However, the former Dukie bombed. First came his role as an interviewer at the NBA Draft led to internet slideshows of awkward Shane Battier interviews. Seriously. Not even Deion Sanders gets that kind of treatment.
When Battier became a college basketball analyst alongside Sean McDonough last year and jumped into the broadcast booth, things only went further downhill. Battier’s debut was shockingly rough. My favorite moment was him comparing the same Louisville player to both Kevin Durant and Shawn Bradley. As we wrote at the time, the best way to describe it was Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe manifesting himself as a college basketball analyst. From that moment on it was clear the whole television thing wasn’t going to work out.
I’m sure Battier will go on to be successful in whatever he does in his post-ESPN career. But let his short ESPN tenure be a reminder that even the surest of sure things don’t always work out in sports television.