As soon as LeBron James went to the bench for good toward the end of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, it was on. The Twitter haters were springing up like fast-growing weeds in the backyard. You couldn’t pull them out fast enough as the Crampapocalypse was officially upon us, creating such gems as the Twitter handle @KingJamesCramp, which at last check, had over 100 followers.
While some of the images and messages admittedly provided a hearty chuckle for their sheer absurdity, what I found astonishing is this snap judgement about LeBron’s desire and motivation. He had a cramp. A really bad one that obviously precluded him from continuing to play. Any athlete will tell you that it is extremely difficult to play through it. I can’t explain why he was the ONLY player to develop a cramp when all the players had to deal with the AC being off.
The Celtics and Lakers, by the way, would always play in sweltering conditions like that at the Garden. What’s lost in all this talk about LeBron’s cramp is that as soon as he went out of the game, Dwyane Wade was invisible. A measly 7 points in the 2nd half on 3 of 10 shooting. That can’t happen. Neither can a relatively silent bench. If this is what happens when LeBron goes out or suffers a major injury, then the Heat are doomed. The Spurs, on the other hand, hold a vibrant bench that is much deeper than Miami’s, helping to end the game on a 16-3 run. Manu Ginobili continues to show that no matter the situation, he’s clutch whether he’s starting or coming off the bench. An true energizer bunny that keeps going. Now we must suffer through countless nauseatingly, gut-wrenchingly long debates on LeBron’s psyche heading into Game 2. No thanks. I’ll just chew on a giant shard of glass until then.