LeBron James is taking tons of criticism today.
In Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, he cramped up and took himself out of the game against the Spurs. San Antonio quickly capitalized on his absence and won Game 1, 110-95.
Of course, James has a history of cramping up in games. In San Antonio, the arena's AC system failed, bringing them temperature up to 97 degrees.
James couldn't take the heat - but is it really his fault? Does he deserve criticism?
Gary Tanguay and Kirk Minihane discuss the issue on Arbella Early Edition.
"Larry Bird does not come out of that game with four minutes to go with cramps," says Minihane, "and he sure as hell doesn’t sit there if the coach says we’re not letting you back in.”
"This is the kind of stuff that matters. This wouldn’t happen with [Michael] Jordan."
The problem isn't that LeBron cramped up; he's human and it happens to everyone. "It's how he handled it," says Tanguay.
The greatest players deliver great performances in situations when you don't think they can.
"LeBron’s the second-greatest player ability-wise of all time next to Jordan," says Tanguay, "but there’s no question this hurts his legacy.
"To me, the greatest effort was Michael Jordan [in 1997] against the Utah Jazz.
Leading up to Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, Jordan was hit hard by the flu and many questioned whether he would even be able to play. Also battling dehydration and exhaustion, Jordan had to lean on his teammates to get off the court, but still managed to drop 38 points on the Jazz.
"LeBron’s not soft," says Minihane. "He’s a tough guy, but in this moment, he came up short in a situation where other guys wouldn’t come up short. I don’t think that’s even disputable.
"This isn’t a referendum on his greatness. His greatness is already established, but we’re trying to figure out where this guy ranks, and to me, you have to look at this.”
Let us know what you think. How does this impact LeBron's legacy?