Even at age 35, LeBron James is playing like one of the best players in the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers doesn’t appear to have lost a step over the year and if anything, his game has gotten better overall. Now, from an athletic standpoint, he’s probably lost a step or two. However, his basketball intelligence is something to behold.
One thing that sets him apart is his crazy photographic memory. According to the man himself, he always knows where all 10 players on the courts are.
“I’ve always had it,” James told Melissa Rohlin of Sports Illustrated. ” A lot of my friends when I was younger playing the game, they were like, ‘Man, how did you remember that play? Or how did you remember that? It was so long ago.’ I never thought about it. I didn’t even know what photographic memory meant when I was younger until I got older. It’s something that I was born with or blessed with.”
Little things like that working in concert with his athletism make him great.
Jason Kidd Weighs In
Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd is another person who is known for his impeccable basketball knowledge. He explained to Rohlin why having a strong basketball IQ is important.
“I think it entails understanding time and score, understanding your opponent, understanding your teammates and understanding yourself,” Kidd said. “It’s kind of like a movie, but playing at fast forward. I think he plays the game that way in the sense of anticipating what’s next. And when you have a high basketball IQ, you understand what’s going to happen next before anybody else does.”
It’s been previously reported that LeBron believes that Kidd is perhaps the only person on Earth that can match his basketball IQ. That fact is probably why the former head coach has found success as an assistant for the Lakers.
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Lakers Teammates Praises LeBron
Coaches and analysts aren’t the only ones who notice what LeBron can do. Even his teammates are in awe of his unique ability to know everything about every player.
“He knows everybody,” Quinn Cook said. “He could be last guy on the bench on the team, but he knows he’s left-handed, he’s a shooter, don’t go under him, he’s a driver, stuff like that. He pays attention to the game, he watches the game and he studies. He helps us get prepared just with his voice.”
His memory doesn’t just extend to players, it also helps his ability to remember plays.
“There’s a lot of play calls that I don’t know,” Avery Bradley said. “Me and Danny [Green] look at each other like, ‘What play is that?’ And LeBron knows where every guy is supposed to be, what you’re supposed to do, the timing of everything. His IQ is just crazy.”
LeBron is the perfect combination of elite athleticism meeting elite intelligence. If his body can hold up, it’s possible he’ll be playing basketball for a while longer. His basketball IQ has helped him adapt and that should continue to be the case until he retires.