Amid 90-degree conditions caused by a broken arena air conditioning system in San Antonio, Miami Heat forward LeBron James had to come out of Game 1 of the NBA Finals due to cramps.
Before he cramped up, all the warning signs were there.
In the third quarter, ESPN caught audio and video of a clearly concerned LeBron telling his teammates how hot he was.
“Looks like you played a whole game already. … I’m going to need some colder water now. … They’re trying to smoke us out of here,” he said.
He told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst after the game that he knew it was coming:
“It’s something you try to prevent, I got all the fluids I need to get … I lost all the fluids I was putting in the last couple of days. It was inevitable for me tonight.”
LeBron has a history of cramping. According to Windhorst, the Miami Heat have kept their own arena “legitimately cold” before playoff games ever since LeBron had to come out of a 2012 Finals game with cramps.
He had played 32 of 40 minutes — almost as many of Tim Duncan played in the entire game — at the time he cramped up. Duncan credited Spurs coach Gregg Popovich for managing his players’ minutes in the bizarre conditions. The Heat would have been wise to do the same with LeBron, considering his history.
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