With Game 1 of the NBA Finals in the books, viewers, fans, pundits, and players all rediscovered two things: Air Conditioning is an essential element to an enjoyable live NBA Experience in the modern era, and LeBron James is, you know, physically fallible. The first is never really thought of — many were quick to point out that ‘The Good Old Days’ featured no air conditioning in arenas, failing to notice what an important thing acclimation is to professional athletes — and the second is so rare that its appearance is roughly on schedule with Halley’s Comet.
Usually, when LeBron James comes up short, it’s because his shots haven’t rattled in or, especially earlier in his career, because something’s wandered inside his head. Cramping, although not unheard of (the 2012 Finals come to mind) for James, is hardly the kind of thing that he should be criticized for, as Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jennings illustrates above. A position that was also taken by NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, who told Yahoo Sports that there was no way LeBron could’ve played with those cramps, not even if he was Michael Jordan.
“He should not be criticized, obviously, for cramping up or not being able to play through that — that’s insane,” Jennings said, but suggested that James and the Heat should find a way to put him in a position that avoided the cramping in the future, even if they couldn’t have foreseen it for last night. Jennings also said that the air conditioning deserved to win the MVP award for Game 1. Game 2 is on Sunday in San Antonio. The ghost of Lux Interior could not be reached for comment.