clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LeBron James is better at video games than you

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

LeBron James' childhood friends could never defeat him in Shaq Fu, and today, he's just as tough to beat in a game of Madden as he is on the basketball court — all because of his incredible memory.

James is blessed (and cursed) with an eidetic memory, reports ESPN. It's partly responsible for his success in the NBA: The basketball superstar often amazes teammates, opponents, coaches and reporters with his incredible ability to recall specific game situations from long ago. He's able to remember details like the tactics teams used to defend him and the exact locations of the shots he took.

He also memorized the entire move list in Shaq Fu. Featuring basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, the much-maligned 16-bit fighting game from Electronic Arts debuted on Genesis and SNES in 1994 — years before GameFAQs existed. (O'Neal and a studio called Big Deez Productions raised more than $473,000 on Indiegogo earlier this year to fund the development of Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn, a sequel to the original game.)

"LeBron was the only one who had memorized all the moves and so he'd win every time. We all thought he definitely was cheating," said Brandon Weems, one of James' lifelong friends, in an interview with ESPN.

According to Weems, who is now an assistant basketball coach at Oakland University, James continues to stay one step ahead of his buddies.

"When you play Madden with him now you have to be careful which teams you take, because he will know what your game plans were in the past when you've played with him and he'll pick the opposing team knowing what plays you want to run," Weems added. "You better save your favorite play, too, because he'll remember what you ran before in situations and be ready for it."

James, 29, returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers, his hometown team and the place where he began his NBA career in 2003, earlier this month. He spent the previous four seasons with the Miami Heat.

[Thanks, Andrew!]

The next level of puzzles.

Take a break from your day by playing a puzzle or two! We’ve got SpellTower, Typeshift, crosswords, and more.