Air conditioning controversy after LeBron cramps up in NBA Finals Game 1

LeBron James Action

Gatorade apologises for Twitter banter after Miami Heat star leaves the court in loss to San Antonio Spurs.

The air conditioning malfunction that forced LeBron James out of Game 1 of the NBA Finals with cramps has sparked a row after some questionable tweets sent by drinks company Gatorade.

The Miami Heat lost 110-95 with their star on the sidelines, and Gatorade, the official sports drink of the NBA since 1984, apologised after a series of tweets pointing out the James endorses Powerade, their fiercest competitor.

A press release from Gatorade said: "Our apologies for our response to fans' tweets during (Thursday) night's Heat vs. Spurs game.”

"We got caught up in the heat of the battle. As a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team."

Powerade responded to the tweets, which have now been deleted, simply by congratulating James on the milsetone of 4,000 points and 1,000 assists in the postseason, which he achieved in Game 1.

The irony is that James only drinks Gatorade during games – he uses blank white cups so that he does not appear to endorse the company.

The NBA's president of basketball operations Rod Thorn addressed the stifling conditions in Game 1, saying that both teams had to deal with the heat.

He said: "In this case the air conditioner went out. It was the same for both teams. Both teams are playing under the same conditions."

"LeBron had to leave the game in the fourth quarter with the game still in the balance," Thorn added. "He's such a great player that obviously when a player of that ilk leaves the game, it certainly affects the game.

"But again, both teams were playing under the same conditions. There was nothing wrong with the floor. We've played in these conditions before."

Ultimately the decision to continue playing rested on the officials. As the players did not appear to be slipping on perspiration on the floor, the game went ahead.

The Heat were up 86-84 when James first appeared to be suffering from cramps. When he left the game for good with just under four minutes remaining, the Spurs pulled away.

In what is shaping up to be a legendary series with so much at stake, the controversy surrounding the air conditioning means Game 1 will live long in the memory.