Since his days at Duke, swingman Shane Battier has been widely considered to be one of the best players in basketball history at taking a charge. It's the defining skill of his game, a talent he's honed and crafted over more than a decade to help make him a valued contributor of several playoff teams. No one understands the charge better than Battier -- he's an expert on the play in the same way that J.R. Smith is a distinguished professor in the discipline of questionable 3-pointer studies.
It stands to reason that Battier would know which players are especially tough to handle in a charge-taking situation. So pay attention to this response in an interview with Jonathan Abrams for Grantland (via TBJ):
Grantland: Who is the toughest guy in the league to take a charge on?
Battier: "The toughest guy is probably Dwyane Wade because he probably has the best Euro-step, so he can avoid contact pretty well to avoid the charge and make it a blocking call. But the most painful is probably LeBron in the open court, which I don't try to do too often. I think I'm the only person — and this is a badge of honor or a sign of stupidity, I don't know which one — to take a charge from Yao Ming and Shaq in the open court and live to tell about it. A charge from Shaq on a fast break my rookie year and it was the dumbest thing I ever did in my entire life."
There you have it: Wade avoids charges the best, while LeBron makes taking one an uncomfortable experience. Nothing's shocking, but no one ever said answers to reasonable questions had to surprise you.
However, things get a little more interesting when dealing with the entirety of NBA history. For instance, did you know that Patrick Ewing made charges incredibly difficult due to his natural defense mechanism of sweating more than anyone in the league? Or that Clyde Drexler made any form of contact unspeakably gross by covering himself in chicken grease before games? These are crazy (but entirely true!) facts of NBA basketball. Read about them at your local library.
- Shane Battier
- Dwyane Wade