BOSTON (CBS) — While you were sleeping, LeBron James was cramping.
And the Internet was laughing.
James suffered the cramps during Game 1 of the NBA Finals, in an AT&T Center with no air conditioning. LeBron did return to the game to try to play through the pain, but he ended up needing to be carried off the court. LeBron’s Heat eventually lost.
It was a familiar scene, seeing the 6-foot-8, 250-pound James carried helplessly off the court during a Finals game, as the same thing happened two years ago vs. the Thunder.
Obviously, whenever a player of LeBron’s stature does anything, it makes headlines. So when he leaves a big game due to leg cramping, it’s no doubt going to make waves throughout the sports world.
This is probably the part where I’m supposed to mock LeBron for not being able to play through the cramps. But that would be pretty silly. It doesn’t take a professional athlete to know that when your muscles seize up, using them isn’t a real option. A muscle cramp can be debilitating for minutes, hours or even days. Those things hurt, man. Now, has LeBron lost any and all benefit of the doubt, based on the way he can make a love tap look like a haymaker and based on the way he hams it up for the cameras? Of course. He’s LeBron.
But killing him for having muscle cramps, and accusing him of begging out of an NBA Finals game? That’s too much.
Alas, it’s not too much for the Internet.
Behold, the wild Internet reaction to LeBron James suffering muscle cramps.
Let’s take a look at Gatorade. Gatorade owns sports, so naturally when people saw the most famous athlete in the world suffer from something brought on by dehydration, they looked to Gatorade for the blame. But Gatorade denied having anything to do with LeBron’s struggles.
Oh, man. Gatorade slam.
(LeBron is sponsored by Coca-Cola, which produces Powerade.)
But mocking LeBron wasn’t just for corporations. Memes and mocking pictures littered the Internet as fast as fast could be.
There was, naturally, the comparison of hockey players to LeBron:
(These pictures get criticized as being too typical, but at the same time, hockey players are tougher than nails. So they’re still fair. Hockey players do probably manage to work through some cramps.)
Hey, look, a meme saying baseball players —pitchers, at that! — are tougher than LeBron. You don’t see that one too often:
There were the obvious comparisons to Michael Jordan:
(At this point, it’s clear that LeBron could score 100 points per game and win 11 straight championships and most folks would still say MJ was better.)
And there were unfavorable comparisons to someone who’s more of a contemporary to LeBron:
There was a fascinating conspiracy theory:
There were the inappropriate suggestions that LeBron’s pains were feminine:
This one was just kind of funny:
Fake accounts of fake weather men were mocking him:
“LeBroning” apparently became a real-life thing:
Ultimately, it’s all fun and games. Everyone knows that LeBron’s the most dominant player on the planet right now, and they know that the cramps are the biggest reason why San Antonio was able to come back and win Game 1. Obviously, LeBron has lost a lot of fans over the years, whether it be for “The Decision” or his arrogance (“I spoil a lot of people with my play”) or his flops or his whatever. Lots of people don’t like LeBron, so they had a laugh at his expense, and it’s not like it came after a serious injury. There’s no crime there.
The real question is how does the Miami Heat’s training staff allow their best player to now cramp up twice on the game’s biggest stage. It was just as hot on the court for the Spurs and the other members of the Heat, and nobody else cramped up.
Get that man some potassium and water next time.
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