Miami Heat star LeBron James is being criticized by a lot of non-athletes who feel he should have toughened up and played at the end of a Game 1 loss to San Antonio on Thursday despite suffering from severe cramps. Isiah Thomas, who knows a little something about playing through pain in the NBA Finals, says those critics are wrong.
“There is no athlete on the planet who could’ve played through those cramps,” Thomas told Yahoo Sports after the game. “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.”
James' cramps were brought on by the incredible heat in the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The air conditioning in the building malfunctioned, and the temperature soared to 90 degrees near the end of the game. James was brought down by cramps and had to leave the game with four minutes remaining.
“There’s no way you could play that way,” he added. “People have to understand that -- just no way.”
Lakers fans will remember Thomas for scoring 25 points in one quarter while playing on a severely sprained ankle during Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals, a game Thomas' Detroit Pistons lost. So if Thomas says James couldn't play, you sort of have to listen to him.