LeBron James is, without question, an historically great player. The only question is where to rank him. A lot of people like to put him 1 or 1A with Michael Jordan, which kind of overlooks Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain, not to mention Bill Russell, but everyone has their own ideas about that.
All of the guys on the list are, or were, unbelievably smart athletes.
For his part though, James points to one past teammate as the smartest guy he’s every played with: Duke grad Shane Battier.
Battier and James were teammates in Miami where they helped the Heat to win back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
Here’s what James said about Battier: “If Miami Heat players need a question answered, they turn to Battier, their versatile forward — versatile, that is, with his knowledge. He’s probably the No. 1 smartest basketball player and person I’ve been around. He knows everything.”
That’s basically been the consensus on Battier since his Duke days when he riffed on Shaolin monks and various other strands of religion, philosophy and history. He’s the most Dukie Duke ever.