Smartest NBA Players of All Time

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The Top Ten

1 Kevin Garnett Kevin Garnett Kevin Maurice Garnett is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves of the National Basketball Association.

Gets into your head. He the best trash talker EVER! And that's how he's smart. He knows how to get into people's heads.

2 Bill Russell Bill Russell
3 Magic Johnson Magic Johnson Earvin "Magic" Johnson Jr. is a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association for 13 seasons.

Magic is by far the smartest basketball player that ever lived. The greatest PG of all time you have to be smart to be the floor general and magic was the greatest him leading his team and that his team was so great they dubbed the team Showtime. Magic is a 3 x MVP and 3 x finals MVP he's number 5 on the all time assists list. He went to 9 NBA finals in his 13 year career won 5 out of those 9, his career was cut short due to him contracting hiv so who knows what other accomplishments he could have completed.

4 Tim Duncan Tim Duncan Timothy Theodore "Tim" Duncan is an American professional basketball player who has played his entire career for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association.

Just because he's quiet doesn't mean he's the 4th most intelligent player to play the game. Duncan is made to look smarter than he is by his overachieving coach, who happens to be the best of his era and one of the best ever.

5 LeBron James LeBron James LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association. LeBron has played for the Heat and the Cavaliers.

Absolute genius. Undoubtedly the most intelligent leader the league has ever come in contact with. The man is not only a player, but he is a role model, a coach, a caring teammate, and a community contributor. His memory is second to none. He remembers random plays from games 2 years ago and uses those memories to learn new techniques which add to his never ending skillset. It will be 20 years after he has retired before we ever see an intellect like LeBron's in the NBA again.

He's dumb

6 Chris Paul Chris Paul Christopher Emmanuel Paul is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association.
7 John Stockton John Stockton John Houston Stockton is an American retired professional basketball player. He spent his entire professional playing career as a point guard for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association, from 1984 to 2003. Stockton is regarded as one of the best point guards of all time, holding the NBA ...read more.
8 Michael Jordan Michael Jordan Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials, MJ, is an American retired professional basketball player.
9 Isaiah Thomas Isiah Lord Thomas III is an American retired basketball player who played professionally for the Detroit Pistons in the National Basketball Association.

Bad boys for life

10 Hakeem Olajuwon Hakeem Olajuwon Hakeem Abdul Olajuwon, formerly known as Akeem Olajuwon, is a Nigerian-American retired professional basketball player.

The Contenders

11 Russell Westbrook Russell Westbrook Russell Westbrook Jr. is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association.
12 Jeremy Lin Jeremy Lin Jeremy Shu-How Lin is an American professional basketball player for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association.

I'm bias because he is my favorite player ever (as a person). However, he does play incredibly smart basketball. - Bronson

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13 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.
14 Larry Bird Larry Bird Larry Joe Bird is an American retired professional basketball player who played for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association. Bird is a 3x champ, 1x ROTY, 1x Finals MVP, 3x 3PT Contest winner, all with the Boston Celtics. (1979-1992)
15 Jerry West Jerry West Jerry Alan West is an American retired basketball player who played his entire professional career for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association.
16 Stephen Curry Stephen Curry
17 Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant Kobe Bean Bryant is an American retired professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Kobe Bryant has won 5 NBA championships with the Lakers and is the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history.
18 Jerry Lucas

Jerry Lucas had a photographic memory. He often showed off his ability to walk down a lineup of 100 people he had never met, ask their name, and then turn around and be able to recall the name of all 100 of them!

19 John Havlicek John Havlicek John Joseph "Hondo" Havlicek is a retired American professional basketball player who competed for 16 seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships, four of them coming in his first four seasons.
20 Oscar Robertson Oscar Robertson Oscar Palmer Robertson, nicknamed "The Big O", is an American retired National Basketball Association player who played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks.
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