The Charlotte Hornets have reportedly hired Michael Batiste as assistant coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski:
Charlotte is hiring Brooklyn player development coach Mike Batiste as an assistant coach, league sources tell @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) May 11, 2017
As Woj pointed out, Batiste, 39, spent last season working as player development coach for the Brooklyn Nets. Prior to that, he spent two seasons as an assistant coach with the Canton Charge in the NBA D-League.
And that covers Batiste’s coaching career, as he recently wrapped up a 14 year professional career, playing primarily overseas for Panathinaikos in Greece, one of the top teams in Europe. Spending nine seasons there between 2003 and 2012, Batiste became a club legend, and helped The Greens win eight straight Greek League Championships from 04-11, five consecutive Greek Cups from 05-09, and three EuroLeague Championships in 2007, 2009, and 2011. Among the many individual awards he received, Batiste was named MVP of the Greek League in 2010.
Along with his time in Greece, Batiste played professionally in Belgium, Turkey, and Italy, and spent one season in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzles, where he played in 75 games and averaged 6.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 16.6 minutes per game. His college years were spent at Long Beach Community College and Arizona State, before he went undrafted in 1999.
After a year in Turkey playing for Turkish giant Fenerbahce, Batiste returned to Panathinaikos for one more season in 2013 before retiring. Upon his return, he was given quite the reception:
Along with that reception, here is a seven minute highlight reel of Batiste playing for Panathinaikos to the tune of banging European house music. As the clips show, Batiste was used often as a pick-and-roll man, suggesting he could be working primarily with the the Hornets front court players, which makes sense given that Patrick Ewing had that role before leaving for Georgetown.
While he is relatively new, Batiste’s long and successful career brings a wealth of knowledge. Playing 9 seasons in Europe with the same team seems like a rare occurrence, at least for American players, but it certainly paid off.
While a congratulations are in order, the ATH community is slightly disappointed that our own Steve Bob Forrest was not named assistant coach, after putting together such a convincing audition tape. Maybe next time Steve!