Just last week I espoused my feelings about LeBron James. After years being unable to accept him as worthy of the same plateau as the all-time greats, I had come around. I found LeBron James to have matured. I found him to be suddenly likable and he had a way with the press he hadn’t before. While I’m not ready to compare him to Michael Jordan, I wrote that at the very least, I’ve accepted him.
If you’re expecting me to go back on those sentiments, I’m not. But I am wavering and I have serious concerns about him moving forward. Still, James can put the game one horrors to bed by leading this Miami Heat team to a third-straight title and don’t think it can’t happen.
When James exited in the fourth quarter, the Spurs were reeling. It looked very much like Miami was going to steal game one and take hold of home-court advantage. That didn’t happen and the Spurs found their groove as they rolled to victory behind Tim Duncan and Danny Green. Unfortunately for LeBron, the comments were coming fast and furious before the game was even decided.
If you aren’t familiar with social media, then the term ‘trolling’ might not mean anything to you. What it means, especially in Twitter parlance, is that someone is tweeting about you or to you in an effort to get a reaction from you. While I had every expectation that people watching the game would be doing this I had no idea that Gatorade would lead the trolling parade.
LeBron is a Powerade guy so when the cramps started, Gatorade took advantage and trolled him hard during the fourth quarter. Such is sports in the 21st century.
Former Golden State Head Coach and current ESPN color man Mark Jackson said at one point that “the great ones find a way to tell their bodies that this isn’t the time.” Jackson has taken a lot of heat (no pun intended) for those comments but I understand what Jackson was saying and I don’t think he necessarily wrong.
The biggest problem for LeBron is that the conditions of the arena affected everyone, not just him. Even his own teammates talked afterward about how the conditions didn’t bother them at all. Chris Bosh said he played in hotter gyms growing up in Texas. In fact, no one else seemed to suffer one bit from playing in the 90 degree heat.
Excuses ran wild this morning about how James’ musculature were prime for such cramping and the like. ESPN threw out the question of whether the lack of air conditioning was the cause of the Heat losing about 30 times in the first two minutes of every program. Let’s be clear; yes the Heat was winning but we can’t say they would have held on anymore than we can say they wouldn’t have under normal conditions.
James has an extraordinary opportunity to overcome this game one embarrassment but he’ll also face ‘conspiracy theorists’ who’ll wonder if the whole thing wasn’t rigged.
What James can do is score and play out of his mind. Whether the Heat win in five, six or seven games, huge performances by him can make this incident in game one a distant memory. The LeBron-haters will be silenced however briefly but they won’t have much of an argument should he have the last laugh.
Whether he will or not is must-see TV.