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LeBron James is known for his athleticism; despite being 6 feet 9 inches tall and weighing 250 pounds of pure muscle, The King can sprint as fast as and leap higher than anybody in the NBA. James can also pass the ball at an exceptional level, ranking among the likes of John Stockton, Magic Johnson, Chris Paul, and others among the all-time greats.
However, LeBron also has an underappreciated talent that may go unnoticed: his basketball IQ.
While he excels in all of the aforementioned categories, the four-time MVP is also one of the league’s sharpest basketball players. Deron Williams, a former Cleveland Cavaliers player, recently provided an insightful analysis of James’ mental approach to the game.
In 2017, Deron Williams was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James.
At one time in his career, Deron Williams was a movie star. From 2009-10 to 2011-12, he was named to three straight All-Star games with the Utah Jazz and New Jersey Nets, averaging 19.8 points and 9.9 assists each season.
Williams played on Team USA alongside James at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games because of his success, but he also played with the 17-time All-Star in 2016-17, his last season.
On the Cavs, the point guard was more of a supporting role player, as he was paired with Kyrie Irving. He joined the club in February 2017 and appeared in just 24 regular-season games, averaging 7.5 points and 3.6 assists in 20.3 minutes per game. That season, Cleveland advanced to its third consecutive NBA Finals, and Williams played in 18 playoff games for the club. During that stretch, though, he only averaged 4.3 points and 2.1 assists in 14.6 minutes, and James and the Cavaliers were defeated 4-1 by the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.
Obviously, Williams only worked with James for a short time, but he recently spoke up about what it was like to play with him.
The King’s mental approach was complimented by Deron Williams.
In 2021, at Lakers media day, LeBron James gives an interview. | Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Williams recently featured on Matt Barnes’ and Stephen Jackson’s show All the Smoke. He also gave some fascinating insight into what it was like to play alongside LeBron James on the Cavs during his visit.
On the Oct. 14 show, Williams stated, “Of course I knew him and knew what he brought to the table, and it was amazing, dude.” “When it comes to work ethics, apart from Kobe, who I worked with in the Olympics, LeBron has the greatest work ethic I’ve ever seen.” And his basketball intelligence is incredible. When it comes to basketball and seeing and comprehending things, I consider myself a fairly clever person, but his mind operates in a different way.”
Williams went on to say that although he had previously seen people describe James’ basketball IQ on TV, there was nothing like being around it in person.
“It’s just on another level the way he’s prepared, how he prepares himself,” Williams said. “Until you’re really there with him day in and day out, going over game plans, watching him call out all the opponents’ plays — it’s just on another level the way he’s prepared, how he prepares himself.” “And that’s what makes him so successful, not just because of his physical abilities, but also because of his cerebral approach to the game.”
LeBron James has previously discussed his basketball IQ.
So, what is it in James’ mentality that allows him to outthink his opponents?
He claims to have an eidetic memory.
In 2020, James told Sports Illustrated, “I’ve always got it.” “When I was younger and playing the game, a lot of my buddies would ask, ‘Man, how did you recall that play?’ Or, to put it another way, how did you recall that? It had been such a long time.’ I’d never considered it before. I had no idea what photographic memory was when I was younger and just learned about it as I grew older. It’s something I was born with or was given to me.”
So, not only did James inherit incredible athleticism, but he also inherited a photographic memory when he was born? That seems to be unjust.
Overall, NBA head coach Doc Rivers properly summed up James’ abilities.
According to Sports Illustrated, he remarked, “There are a lot of guys in the NBA with LeBron’s physique.” “No one in the league has his intelligence.”
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
RELATED: LeBron James Once Tried to Sign a Former All-Star Player to the Cavs, But Was Turned Down: ‘I Didn’t Wanna Play With LeBron’
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