MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Shane Battier, a retired Miami Heat player, surprised 17 Miami Central High School students with full-ride scholarships on Wednesday.
Battier, 40, and his wife, Heidi Ufer, his high school sweetheart, use his The Battier Take Charge Foundation to provide opportunites to students who he says just need a hand.
Battier, who was born in Bimingham, Michigan, said he is following on a pledge he made before he started his career in the NBA playing for the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets and the Miami Heat until 2014.
His pledge: "If I ever make it to the big show, I will use my platform and my name to give an opportunity to deserving kids."
Asha St. Louis, a Miami Central student, is one of the kids Battier had in mind. She was among the 17 students who receiving the Battier Take Charge scholarships.
"It means a lot," St. Louis said. "I was literally crying when they called my name, so yes this is the most meaningful thing. It's a result of all of my dedication tears and sweat."
Battier delivered an encouraging speech at the event at the school in Miami-Dade County's West Little River neighborhood.
"We are all in this together and so there are a lot of people who need help and it's up to all of us," Battier said. "What we're doing is not anything extraordinary."