Recently I’ve noticed this topic brought up by the media on several occasions. I’ve heard some very credible reporters say he’s the smartest “basketball mind” in the league. Last week Sportscenter ran a feature on LeBron’s “basketball IQ” that promoted this very idea. It included teammate Shane Battier (who’s widely thought of as one of the most intelligent NBA players himself) saying LeBron “is like A Beautiful Mind.” Why does this discussion have to happen? Why can’t it be enough that he’s the best player in the world? Why does the LeBron love-fest need to generate crazy ideas like this too?
Here’s why it’s a ridiculous notion: Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense for the guy with the highest basketball IQ to be a player who’s been a superstar despite not possessing insane freak-of-nature athletic ability? Off the top of my head, Steve Nash, Paul Pierce, Manu Ginobli, and the recently retired turned head coach just 9 days later Jason Kidd all come to mind (quick sidebar, it’s amazing to think that Kidd was able to land a coaching job in less time than the number of games he went without scoring (10) to finish his playing career).
Or maybe the smartest basketball mind in the league is a guy sitting on the end of the bench somewhere; someone without that much talent who’s brilliance is just enough to keep him on a roster, Jason Collins maybe? Or could it be a cagey veteran who would have been forced to call it quits long ago if not for his vast knowledge of the game, like 40 year old Juwan Howard for example?
I’ll admit LeBron makes spectacular passes, and I’ll accept the fact that he does have a very astute knowledge of the game. But consider this: Of the roughly 7 billion people on the planet, LeBron is the one with the most basketball talent physically. And now you’re going to tell me that out of the 450 or so players in the NBA, he’s also the one with the most hoops talent mentally? Come on.
Check out “37 seconds of sports and other stuff i care about” at lucidsportsfan.com, and follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan