The big question after last night’s LeCramp controversy was whether Michael Jordan would’ve played through leg cramps during the NBA Finals. Of course Jordan’s old buddy Isiah Thomas said MJ couldn’t have played with those cramps, telling Yahoo Sports, “There is no athlete on the planet who could’ve played through those cramps.”
But MJ did play through cramps — in 1995 — against the Pacers in his first game back since going through his baseball phase. As you can read above, the GOAT played 43 minutes (the game with to overtime) and cramped up. Solution: “Just drank a lot of Gatorade,” Jordan told the adoring media.
As far as his play went, Jordan was subpar. He made 7 of 28 shots, including missing several wide-open jumpers that he’s made effortlessly his past few seasons. And his conditioning is not yet up to speed; he suffered cramps late in the fourth quarter and overtime on the way to playing 43 minutes, which used to be a regular night at the office.
Jordan played through the cramps, in a meaningless regular season game. The media didn’t get a level of pain from MJ’s cramps so we can now compare his cramps against LeBron’s. But we know that MJ played through cramps after not playing in an NBA game since October 1993.
But on Sunday, before the first quarter had ended, the 32-year-old Jordan was bending over and tugging on his shorts, the universal symbol for fatigue, and in the overtime he developed leg cramps. Asked if he was disappointed that he didn’t get a chance to dunk, Jordan replied, “I was cramping so bad I didn’t really want to.”
MJ didn’t want to dunk, but he played on.
Look, it’s not like LeBron was looking for a reason to bail on the first game of the NBA Finals. Of course the guy wanted to play. You think he enjoys people questioning him for leaving a game for cramps? You think he wants to hear that his idol played through cramps in a regular season game after not playing in two years? Of course not.
But, if you always want to compare MJ and LBJ, we can compare all you want. MJ played through leg cramps way back in 1995.