Steve Sailer asks if centers are generally smarter than players at the other positions in basketball. I don't have anything like a real answer for this, but my initial observation would be that the two most intelligence-demanding positions would be center and point guard.
The point guard position is fairly obvious: You need to know the plays, and everyone else's position in the plays. But the position probably also requires a better handle on spacial relations than the others because you have to see so passing lanes so consistently.
I think you can make the case that the center and PG positions are also the least athletically demanding roles on the basketball court. They're physically demanding--you can't play center if you're short--but that's very different from innate athleticism. The 2, 3, and 4 positions all let you paper over nearly every possible deficiency with raw athleticism in a way that the 1 and the 5 really don't. And it might be true--I'd have to think about this some more--that when the center position is properly played it demands the second-best court vision and passing ability on the floor, because you have to see double teams on the post and understand how and where to kick the ball out.
What I've always wondered about centers is this: What percentage of men over 7-feet-tall play Division I and/or professional basketball? I'd wager that I've never seen a 7-foot-tall man who wasn't a high-level basketball player--in the tens of thousands of people I've walked past on the street, in the airport, etc, I've never seen a 7-footer.
So is being born to be 7-feet tall like winning the lottery? Is it a free pass to a paid-for college education and/or at least some professional sports money? What percentage of 7-footers do make it to that level? 5 percent? 10 percent? 60 percent?
I've never quite figured out a way to find the data on this.
1 hour ago