Retired Miami Heat star Shane Battier gave nearly two dozen South Florida high school students ear-to-ear smiles on Thursday with the ultimate gift: college educations.
"Together, we are sending 21 deserving kids to college today. And we’ve just begun," tweeted Battier.
And that is exactly what he did.
Twenty-one sophomore students at Miami Central High School had no idea their college educations would be completely paid for when they woke up Thursday morning.
The Battier Take Charge Foundation, established by Shane and his wife Heidi, was created to offer resources for the development and education of underserved youth and teens.
"Meet Anqualexus. She’s a great kid, and today we told her she’s getting a four-year scholarship to go to college," Battier said in an Instagram post featuring the college-bound teen.
Not only was Battier and his wife overjoyed with the opportunity to be able to "unlock potential through a college education" with scholarships, but the recipients were highly appreciative.
"Thank you for the opportunity to go to college and become something great," 10th grader Laurie Irias who graciously thanked Battier in a tweet with a photo of the pair.
Battier's annual karaoke event "Battioke," benefitting the Take Charge Foundation, helped raised nearly $200,000 last year to help the organization's youth acheive their dreams of a college education.
Battier played 13 seasons in the NBA, with his last three being in Miami helping the Heat score back-to-back championship wins in 2012 and 2013. Battier retired in 2014, and returned to the Heat's front office as the Director of Basketball Development & Analytics.