Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/5/12
MIAMI If youve really got game, you get a nickname in China. Miami forward LeBron James, an eight-time All-Star, is Da Huang Di, which means Big Emperor. Guard Ray Allen, a 10-time All-Star who once starred in He Got Game, is Shen Shi, which is Gentleman But theres a Heat player who has a nickname in China who never has been an All Star. It's said in the country in English. I am Mr. President, said forward Shane Battier. The forward might be able to walk around with little trouble in Miami. But Battier has been known to stop traffic in China, where his face is plastered on billboards. When the Heat head to China next week for games against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 11 in Beijing and Oct. 14 in Shanghai, James will create plenty of mob scenes and so will Dwyane Wade, who is about to sign a shoe deal with a Chinese company. But Miami players might be surprised at the reaction Battier gets. I think Im third behind (James and Wade) in China because of my longevity and my relationship with China, Battier said. Battier in 2006 had just been traded from Memphis to Houston, where he teamed with Chinese star Yao Ming. With all the Rockets games then being televised in the nation, a Chinese company approached Battier. I got a phone call and someone asked me if I would be interested in wearing a Chinese basketball shoe called Peak, Battier said. I never heard of it. So I said, I need to try these out first. And I was actually over in Tokyo playing in the World Championships with LeBron (then with Cleveland) and Dwyane (and on the trip) tried the shoes on and went through them and said, Hey, these are pretty cool shoes. So I signed a deal with them. Growing up, every kid dreams of having their own shoe. And the fact that mine is mostly sold in China doesnt bother me. Its kind of cool. Now, even though Yao has retired and Battier has changed teams twice since his first Peak shoe came out, the Battier 7 will be on the market this season in China. Battier does note that Peak, which sells his shoes for 100, has opened two stores in Los Angeles. Battier travels each summer to China to meet with Peak officials and discuss plans for the upcoming season. It was during one of those trips a few years ago he got his nickname. Whenever Im over there, I give speeches like Im presidential, Battier said. The rumor is people think Im going into politics after basketball I do a lot of press conferences over there and (journalists) are literally calling me, Mr. President, Mr. President. How do you feel about this? After a while, you just roll with it. Its pretty funny. Battier said his nickname is only said in English and it actually helps the Chinese because they dont have an a sound in their alphabet and have trouble saying his name. Battier said it comes out Sean Bodier. Whether its getting a nickname or something else, Battier said there are often surprises awaiting him in China. He told a funny story about when the Battier 4 came out. I get off the plane one day (in Beijing) and we go straight to the press conference, Battier said. They want to release Battier 4s, and I hadnt seen the shoe I get to the stage and they get me up on stage and Im waving. The cameras are going. I cant see anything, and they wheel out this big case. Through a translator, theyre explaining that the shoes are the only weapons that the basketball player has. So the theme of the shoe is, These are Shanes weapons. So I open the case and it was like a weapons case. The shoes are right in the middle but around it are Chinese stars, Uzis, machine guns, this big machete. And Im thinking, Oh, Lord, this is not going to go over well in America if it gets back there.''' While hes in China, Wade is likely to unveil his new deal with Chinese shoe company Li-Nang. Stay tuned to see if he encounters any press conference surprises. As for Wades nickname in China, it was the Chinese translation of The Flash (Shan Dian Xia) when he played with James and now-Heat forward Chris Bosh on the 2008 Olympic team that won gold in Beijing. But Wade said two years ago he no longer wanted to be dubbed The Flash, a nickname once given to him by Shaquille ONeal. If Wade doesnt want to be Shane Dian Xia with his new shoe, the Chinese just might come up with something else. We got the whole Chinese thing going on, James, who pitches for Nike, said of the popularity of James, Wade and Battier in China. Im hearing D-Wade is endorsing a Chinese shoe deal You got Shane with Peak, and Nike is pretty big over there. So we got a little China thing going on. Its more than just little considering the Heat will arrive in China with an Emperor and a President. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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