Found November 08, 2012 on
Fox Sports Florida:
MIAMI -- The Sporting News once named Shane Battier the smartest player in the NBA. Now, he's talking trash about his intellect.
After Battier's Miami Heat defeated the Brooklyn Nets 103-73 Wednesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena, the undersized power forward admitted foes at his position can overpower him. But then Battier laid down the gauntlet.
"Playing Jeopardy! I like my chances against any power forward in the league," Battier said. "Print that."
Battier then expanded his boast to a belief he could defeat any NBA player on the game show.
"Any Jeopardy! anything in the NBA, I'm taking me odds on," said the 6-foot-8, 220-pound Battier. "Physically, no. Take the other guy. Mentally, I like my odds."
So maybe that's an idea for David Stern during his waning days as NBA commissioner. How about a Jeopardy! battle during All-Star Weekend between players?
"It's my general knowledge," Battier said of the reasoning behind his boast. "My goal is to go on celebrity Jeopardy!"
So could it be that the Heat have the best overall basketball player on the planet as well as the smartest one? Forward LeBron James, who is everybody's answer in the first category, doesn't disagree.
"I'm not going to challenge him," James said of going against Battier on Jeopardy! "I'll tell you that. He's very smart. He has basketball IQ. He has book IQ. He's probably one of the smartest guys I've been around."
Battier was a religion major at Duke. He was named in 2010 by the Sporting News as the seventh-smartest athlete out of 20, but tops among NBA players.
"He's one of those guys that he knows stuff about stuff he shouldn't know about," said Heat guard Dwyane Wade. "I'm like, 'How did you know about that?"'
Still, when hearing about Battier's Jeopardy! trash talking, Wade didn't immediately rubber stamp it.
"I'm sure they're a couple of guys around that can challenge him," said Wade, although he didn't immediately come up with anybody.
Battier did name one player he believes could be a formidable foe. That would be the guy who was No. 19 on that Sporting News list.
"Matt Bonner is a pretty bright guy," Battier said of the San Antonio forward when asked who would finish second to Battier in Jeopardy! "He'd give me a run."
Wait a minute. One minute Battier is talking trash about how he can beat any NBA player at Jeopardy! and the next minute he's saying there actually is a challenger out there.
Turns out Battier admits to an Achilles heel. There are a few categories in which he could be a bit lacking.
"Literary figures of history and classical composers are my weaknesses," Battier said. "I struggle with those two."
James might know the feeling. As perfect as his game often might look, even he sometimes struggles with outside shooting and free throws.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@christomasson
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