Like most of the all-time greats, LeBron James has an incredible work ethic unrivalled by most of his peers.
But LeBron also has a secret weapon that separates him from many of the other greats: his amazing memory.
James may have an “eidetic memory” — the closest thing to the mythical photographic memory — according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. He can remember specific plays from old games in exacting detail. One teammate told Windhorst that you can’t use the same football team twice when you play LeBron in the “Madden” video game because he remembers which plays you ran.
He is already putting that work ethic and memory to use in his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ken Berger has written a story for CBSSports.com about new Cavs coach David Blatt and the building of his relationship with James. The piece includes one telling nugget from the team’s first week of full practices.
At the end of the second day of practices, during which the team was practicing twice a day, Blatt “blew his whistle and told the players to clear the court and get off their feet.” He then held a meeting with this coaches for about 30 minutes.
When Blatt emerged from the offices, he found James still on the court coaching four teammates on the details of Blatt’s offence from the point of view of each position.
There was James on the practice floor with four teammates, marching them through the intricacies of Blatt’s offensive system from the perspective of each position, one through five. James had already mastered them all.
Many players struggle to master their own positions. Before the end of the first week of practice, LeBron has already mastered all five positions in an offence he has never played in before.
We can argue about the greatest players of all time. But when it is all said and done, we will have a hard time coming up with a player who was better at the mental side of the game.
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