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Detroit’s Battier Turning Karaoke Into Scholarships

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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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TIM REYNOLDS,AP Sports Writer

MIAMI (AP) — Shane Battier knows he’s not the world’s best singer.

He’s far from it.

Really, really far from it, to be precise.

But by poking fun at his own musical shortcomings — and those of a few of his Miami Heat teammates — for a few hours, Battier is going to try to send some needy kids to college. He calls it “Battioke,” a fundraising night of karaoke on Tuesday to raise money that will be used to award scholarships to at-risk students who have demonstrated leadership qualities.

Battier and his wife Heidi started the “Take Charge Foundation” a little over two years ago, and from that, Battioke was born.

“It’s pretty awesome to give a kid a chance who may not otherwise have a chance,” Battier said. “That’s why we feel strongly about it. That’s sort of my story. I’ve had unbelievable success in my life, more than I ever thought. But along the way, I’ve had a lot of people just give me a shot, give me a chance. And given a chance, if you have motivation and desire, you can do big things. That’s sort of the impetus of our scholarship program.”

Past scholarship recipients are attending schools like Texas, Texas A&M, Emory, Prairie View A&M and Northern Michigan. Battier started the scholarship program when he was in Houston and playing for the Rockets, and now that he’s in Miami, the program is following him.

Eventually, the Battier family would like to see their foundation have a national scope.

“I think there’s need everywhere and it manifests itself in different ways,” Battier said. “I was reading some of the stats on the education exposure in Miami, and it’s troubling. That’s why I think this is a really important event and a really important program. We have a chance to make a real difference in a city that needs it. We can change lives for many years to come. And that’s exciting.”

He’s not the first karaoke fan in the Heat locker room. Dwyane Wade has been known to pick up a microphone from time to time, and Battier insists that LeBron James has been practicing for weeks. James Jones — who sang with Patti LaBelle at a Heat Charitable Foundation event last week — is Battier’s pick to win.

Of course, it’s not the winner that gets remembered at Battioke.

“When I was in Houston, Luis Scola tried Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse Of The Heart’ and was awesomely awful,” Battier said. “For anyone that feels a little uptight about singing, they will be shown that video. And Chase Budinger was worse. He was singing Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’ and forgot the words. I don’t know what was worse, forgetting the words or struggling through a tone-deaf rendition of that song.”

The event may not be taken that seriously, but to Battier, the cause could not be more important.

“I think I’m lucky,” Battier said. “I think I have a locker room full of competitors and guys who enjoy the spotlight, who aren’t afraid of the spotlight. And to me, is there a place outside of basketball where that’s more valued than karaoke? To me, it’s a natural fit.”

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On the Web: http://www.takechargefoundation.com

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Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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