No need to use Google when Shane Battier is standing nearby.
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,” said Heat forward LeBron James. “He knows everything.”
The savvy Battier obviously knows basketball. He can dabble quite well in history, math, finance and religion. After all, Battier was a religion major at Duke.
During a recent practice, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was drilling his players. He asked if anybody knew the width of the court. After seeing some blank stares, Spoelstra turned to Battier.
“He said, ‘I don’t know.’ And he goes, ’50?’ Spoestra said. “And the guys gave him a hard time that even when he doesn’t know the answer he gets it.”
It’s no wonder, then, when the Sporting News in 2010 did a list of the top 20 smartest athletes, Battier ranked No. 7. That was tops among NBA players. No. 1 overall was Oakland A’s pitcher Craig Breslow.
Other NBA players on the list were Phoenix forward Grant Hill at No. 10, Lakers forward Pau Gasol at No. 15 and San Antonio forward Matt Bonner at No. 19. Hill graduated from Duke in 1994, seven years before Battier.
“It’s a sore subject,” Battier said how Hill feels about being ranked lower.
But does Battier believe he’s the smartest guy in the NBA?
“Intelligence is an esoteric measurement,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m smart, but I don’t know about the smartest.”