FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Miami Heat forward Shane Battier helped children in Ft. Lauderdale’s St. Mark’s Episcopal School kick off the new school year.

More than 250 elementary and middle school students, faculty and parents welcomed the basketball star to the gymnasium for a motivational speech.

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Battier encouraged students to  use the ABZ approach.

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A-Avoid negative influences, B-Believe in yourself and, Z-Zero in on your goal every day by making incremental advancements.

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After the speech, a third-grader presented Battier with a birthday card and the students sang to him to celebrate his 35th birthday which was also Monday.