Whoever thinks that all jocks are dumb must not be a fan of the NBA. The world's top basketball league sports its fair share of blockheads and goons, but, by and large, is replete with guys whose agility is as mental as it is physical.
Such is the nature of the game itself. You can be a star in The Association by running faster, jumping higher and dunking harder than most. Just ask Blake Griffin, the depth of whose game is often overshadowed by his nightly aerial acrobatics with the Los Angeles Clippers.
But true superstardom in the NBA requires a certain cerebral brilliance and psychological edge. Michael Jordan was always an elite athlete, but what set him apart from high-flying contemporaries like Dominique Wilkins and Clyde Drexler was his psychopathic competitive drive and otherworldly understanding of the history and complexities of basketball.
The same goes for these seven guys—All-Stars, all-time greats and role players alike—who've hung around the league by way of brains as much as brawn, if not more so.