Isiah Thomas: Michael Jordan couldn’t have played through LeBron’s cramps
Critics who have obviously never dealt with serious cramping will tell you that LeBron James showed a lack of heart on Thursday night when he left Game 1 of the NBA Finals with four minutes remaining. LeBron was suffering from severe cramps as a result of an AT&T Center air conditioning system malfunction, and Isiah Thomas believes there is absolutely nothing he could have done to play through it.
Thomas was in attendance for Game 1, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports noticed that he wasn’t even breaking a sweat in the 90-plus degree heat. Despite that, Thomas understood where LeBron was coming from.
“There is no athlete on the planet who could’ve played through those cramps,” he told Wojnarowski. “Michael Jordan absolutely couldn’t have played through those cramps. I absolutely couldn’t have played through those cramps. As an athlete, there’s nothing you could do.”
This is the same Isiah Thomas who, on a bum ankle, scored 25 points in a single quarter during Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. The Detroit Pistons ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, but a severely hobbled Thomas singlehandedly kept his team in championship contention.
That’s why Thomas’ words are more than just meaningless blabber from someone who has never been there.
“There’s no way you could play that way,” he added. “People have to understand that – just no way.”
We have already heard comparisons between LeBron’s cramping and Michael Jordan’s legendary flu game. While those will undoubtedly continue, they aren’t fair to James. Jordan obviously felt awful, but LeBron was physically unable to move. He tried to reenter the game, but Erik Spoelstra told him “don’t even think about it.”
Fortunately for LeBron, his cramping came in Game 1. He has several more games to make people forget it ever happened, and we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that’s just what he did.