SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, June 08, 2014

LeBron James and Game 1

Okay, so I am a little late on his taking himself out of Game 1 with cramps.

Clearly, he was hurting.  Clearly, he could have hurt himself worse had he stayed in the game.  Assuming that a teammate or two would have stepped up (which no one did), he would have hurt his team by remaining in the game.  Those who knock him for not playing through it probably haven't suffered that type of cramp or have other issues with James.

But what surprised me in the overall defense of James was the lack of questioning about his preparation for the game (as an aside, I don't think that it should have been played without air conditioning).  Thirty-eight year-old Tim Duncan did not cramp.  Neither did James thirty-seven year-old teammate Ray Allen.  But James did.  And before you let overcrowded broadcast booths defend him with the throwaway "well, he has a history of cramping," we still have to ask the hard question -- "couldn't he have avoided this?"  What no one seemingly examined was his hydration leading up the game.  For example, does he drink a lot of sugary drinks or caffeine?  Does he not drink the obligatory say hundred ounces of water a day during the season?  Has he gotten advice regarding caffeine and sugar?

It sounds elementary, what with all the private chefs and nutritionists surrounding him, that he should be doing that.  But over the years I've read stories about players' drinking hot coffee at court side before games to pump them up, about players drinking a lot of Gatorade to hydrate and about players drinking soda.  So, it stands to reason, that the question should have been asked.  When players ten years his senior did not cramp, the question begs to be answered -- what did LeBron do to prepare for the finals in terms of nutrition and hydration?

Because it seems that he could have failed to prepare properly.

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