Once more LeBron James is in the eye of the storm after he got knocked out of Game One of the NBA Finals due to cramps.
It sure affected the Miami Heat’s chances without him on the floor as they were playing very well up to that point.
Of course, I expected the social media firestorm that eventually followed and a lot of it was outright vicious. LBJ has won NBA titles and Olympic medals as well as brought home a cartload of individual trophies. And people still question him? I don't think he wanted at all to go down with cramps (and I am not even a Miami Heat fan)?
There were some hilarious and brainless ones like that Ryan Koo Tweet for a shot at Gatorade for allegedly not being there for their number one client.
If Koo did his homework he would have known that LeBron does not endorse Gatorade but its competitor, Powerade. And furthermore, Gatorade has two endorsers in both NBA Finals protagonists – Dwyane Wade for the Miami Heat and Manu Ginobili for the San Antonio Spurs.
To get this clear, I have come to admire James for his accomplishments on and off the court. I took shots at him before for the manner of his departure from Cleveland (take note that I said the “manner” and not the “departure” and there is a difference, children) and for those quarters in media who have deigned him to be better than one Michael Jordan. Maybe we can all take a look at that when James has hung up his sneakers for good. But for now, Jordan is tops.
The winner from all this Finals brouhaha, aside from the Spurs (at least for Game One), is Gatorade. Without even so much spending a penny, it generated some good PR and that is the best PR one can get -- without having to lift a finger. It sure helped that Wade and Ginobili didn’t go down.