Gatorade piles on cramping LeBron
LeBron James was the leading scorer in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, hitting 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. But the dominant storyline after Thursday’s 110-95 win by San Antonio was James cramping in the hot conditions.
The air conditioning broke at the AT&T Center, bringing sweltering south Texas conditions inside the arena. James left the game at the 7:31 mark while Miami led 86-84. He tried coming back a few minutes later and scored on a driving layin, but immediately cramped up and had to be carried to the bench.
Obviously, this opened up a new genre of LeBron bashing, including some pointed Tweets from the official account of Chicago-based Gatorade.
“We were waiting on the sidelines, but he prefers to drink something else.”
And also, “The person cramping wasn't our client. Our athletes can take the heat.”
James endorses rival PowerAde, if that wasn't obvious already.
Some people wanted to compare this game to Michael Jordan’s flu game in the 1997 Finals, but that’s ridiculous. Severe cramps are much more debilitating.
Of course, there’s the fact that James was the only player who suffered from severe cramps on this hot night. But it’s impossible to know if he could have done something different to avoid the problem.
In my mind, I’m not sure it mattered. The Spurs got on a roll late in the game, hitting a barrage of 3-point shots after misfiring most of the night. James would have helped, but don’t think he would have prevented a Miami loss.
After the game, some argued that James’ cramping was the single reason for the Heat’s collapse, but most games involving Miami turn on 3-point shooting anyway. The Spurs went 6-for-6 from 3-point land down the stretch, starting with three in a row by Danny Green, who bricked plenty of open looks early in the game.
The cramping makes a good storyline, but San Antonio would have won Game 1 regardless. The Heat always seem to bounce back from Game 1 playoff losses, so it might not even turn out to be an important part of the series.
UPDATE -- I asked my trainer friend, Dustin, what advice he'd give to LeBron. I assume he's seen or read things about LeBron's routine, because he thinks James might be over-hydrating before games, drinking a gallon of water the day before. Dustin says it's better to stay in a consistent state of semi-dehydration, because after drinking heavy amounts of water, the body is ready to start shedding that water, through heavy sweating and other means.
Dustin also thinks more potassium, sodium and electrolytes in the diet might help, along with serious stretching if he's not doing that already. So he says Gatorade or Pedialyte (popular in the Bulls locker room) may have helped.
UPDATE 2 -- Photos showed that James did drink Gatorade on the sideline during Game 1 (league-wide sponsorship keeps it available). The company also apologized for the cramping tweets.