Posted on: January 15, 2008 5:23 pm

Esteban Batista "A Quick Rise into the Spotlight"

Esteban Damián Batista Hernández was born in Montevideo, Uruguay. Later on, he moved to Playa Pascual, 60 km west of Montevideo. Like any Uruguayan, Esteban grew up playing soccer, on the beach and on the street, anywhere he could.

One sunny day in 2000, while Batista was returning to Montevideo by bus, the eyes of a Club Welcome fan lit up. He couldnt believe it. He was looking at a giant he hoped someday would play for his team. So the fan approached the giant if he played basketball professionally, and surprisingly, Batista responded that he never played basketball at all. Shortly after, he received an invitation to try out for the team.

In his first season playing at Welcome, he averaged 2.1 points in 23 games. More importantly, his team was second in the league. The next season, he averaged 6.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in 22 games. His team was again second.

But his 3rd season was his breakout season. He decided to start playing up north for Salto, in the north of Uruguay. While playing for them, he averaged 16.4 points in 28 games. His team was also 3rd in a South American Tournament. All of this caught the eye of many scouts. One of Europe's giants, Real Madrid, signed him later on that year. They then sent him on a loan to Pozuelo, also in Spain, where he averaged 8.9 points, and 7.4 rebounds in 23 games. Later on that year, he participated on the Olympic Qualifiers with Uruguay where his team manager a weak 9th place. In the 4 games he played, he averaged 1.5 points, and 1.2 rebounds, mostly because he only played 35 minutes total.

As 2004 rolled around, Batista decided to go back home and he played for Trouville, in Montevideo. In 40 games, he averaged 20 points, and 15 rebounds. In a South American Tournament, in group play, his team went (2-1). He then went to play in Chile. Later on that year, he went with Uruguay to play in the South American Tournament of Nations, where his team got an impressive 4th place.

For 2005, he decided to try another stint in Spain which proved to be very effective. He went to play for LEB. In 8 games, he averaged an impressive 10.6 points, and 5.5 rebounds. Then, he went with the National Team to compete in the FIBA Americas Championship. His team got a dissapointing 8th place. This meant that Uruguay wasnt going to the World Cup in Japan, but Batista had many individual records. He averaged a tournament best 15.6 rebounds. He was also the 9th leading scorer, in a tournament with players of the likes of Dwyane Wade, LeBron, Carmelo, and many other NBA Superstars.

The biggest break of his career came on September 12th, just 10 days after his birthday. He signed with the Atlanta Hawks on a free agent deal. Golden State was also trying to pursue him, but because of playing time promises, he signed with Atlanta. Unfortuantley, that promise was not kept. On November 2nd, Batista made his NBA Debut, playing 6 minutes against the Golden State Warriors. In his two years in Atlanta, Batista played in 70 games, averaging 8 minutes/game. He managed 1.7 points/game and 2.5 rebounds/game.

During the summer, he played with his National Team in the Panamerican Games and the FIBA Americas Championships. In the Panamerican Names, he guided his team to 3rd place, including a win against Argentina in the semifinals. In the FIBA Americas Championships, he again led the tournament in rebounding with 12.4 rebounds/game. He was also one of the top scorers with 20.8 points/game. And this tourney included Jason Kidd, Carmelo, LeBron and other great players, including many NBA players. He even played against Team USA and managed to keep Uruguay winning for most of the 1st quarter and kept Uruguay in the game the entire game. Noone else managed to do that in the entire tournament.

After the 2006-2007 season, he decided to try with another NBA team. In his list of candidates he had the Bobcats, Pacers, Cavaliers, and Boston. After initially saying Boston was out of the running, he signed with Boston. He worked with them in training camp, and played one preseason game. In it, he played 16 minutes, and scored 7 points, had 5 rebounds, and 2 steals. Most people would think this is enough to make a team, but Doc Rivers and managment did not. They decided to waive him.

Later on, he signed with Macabi Elite Tel Aviv in Israel. In the recent years, they won the Euro League two times in a row. There, hes been a key player so far, and has helped his team arrive at 3rd place out of 8 teams in their EuroLeague group and also has them in great shape in the Israeli Cup. Hopefully hell be back in the NBA soon.
Batista stands at 6 foot 10(2.08 meters) and weighs 268 lbs(121.6 kg)

So who could use him? I think the Miami Heat. Shaquille O'Neal is retiring soon, and Miami needs a capable Center, not backup material like they have now. Batista showed he could play in the NBA various times so the Heat should give him a shot. They got nothing to lose

Category: NBA
Tags: Celtics, Hawks, Heat
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