Last night’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals was one of the best NBA games I have seen in a very long time. From the tip, the game proved to be nothing short of exciting, nail biting and intense. The Spurs and Heat traded baskets, swapped leads several times and got real wide eyed almost every time a foul was called as if it was impossible for them to foul. A game that was too close to call for much of the night quickly took a turn when the game’s leading scorer, LeBron James, had to leave the floor due to severe cramps. His exit sparked a 16-3 run by the Spurs who rode that momentum to a Game 1 win.
However, the talk today is not about how two teams battled until the end. The talk is not about how dominant 38 year old Tim Duncan was. The talk is not about how bench players played significant roles in which side of the column that team finished on. The talk is about cramps. Yes, cramps. You know those things that athletes tend to get. Yeah, those. The AT&T Center was more reminiscent of a sauna last night than a basketball arena as the electrical system charged with supplying juice to the arena malfunctioned. The temperature in the area soared above 90 degrees. Players were seen wringing out their uniforms and placing ice packs on their necks to keep cool. Fans tapped into their creative side and made fans out of signs that were passed out before the game. Via Twitter, former NBA players compared last night’s experience to playing in the Boston Garden.
Who cares about all of that though when the league’s best player is unable to finish the game due to cramps. With a little under four minutes to play, James hobbled off the court plagued by a condition he has suffered from before. When he left, I knew it was coming. I knew the tweets would start. I knew what the comparison would be. I prepped myself to hear it. “MJ played through the flu. You mean to tell me he can’t play through cramps.” For years, James has been criticized for what many have called a lack of killer instinct. So for him to exit last night just added more fuel to the fire that was already hot.
All I could do was laugh. It was obvious that everyone who was tweeting, chatting and flapping their gums had NEVER experienced severe cramps. I do not care how tough you are mentally or physically, a severe cramp especially in your leg or foot, will send you into limp noodle status quick. I saw all kinds of ridiculousness. People accusing James of not being a well conditioned athlete because he cramped. Say what now? I must assume these people have not been watching him play for the last 11 years. Those that have been watching obviously do not understand how this cramping thing works. Seeing that it is Friday and I am in a good mood, let me break it down for you.
Cramps can occur as a result of a number of factors. Muscle fatigue, dehydration, low potassium, low sodium and electrolyte disturbance. Exposure to large changes in temperature can also cause cramping. A person with a large amount of lean muscle is more susceptible to cramping. Have you ever watched a track meet? Exactly. The combination of the temperature in the arena, James’ profuse sweating which caused the electrolyte disturbance(your muscle cells will begin to shrink) and the fact that he received no IV’s during the game(which still baffles me since this not the first time he has had to exit a game due to cramping) is why James was unable to finish the game. HE COULD NOT PLAY. If he had received IV’s during the game, this probably would have not been an issue. The trainer, team doctor, coach, somebody needs to answer for that foolishness.
So there you have it. You can call him soft, a wuss, whatever. Let one of those cramps catch you. I bet you will be calling on Jesus. Trust me. I know.
Until next time…TOODELLS.
P.S. Even in my defense of LBJ, I have to admit that the pictures of people LeBronin last night left me in chuckles. #NoChill