Larry Bird was immune to cramps | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Larry Bird was immune to cramps

As fans around the world clash over the severity of LeBron James’ leg cramps and the steamy conditions in Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals, take a moment to remember the awesomeness of Larry Bird.

Bob Ryan reminds us of Bird’s epic performance in Game 5 of the 1984 Finals. It was a mere 97 degrees in the Garden that day.

Here’s an excerpt from Ryan’s column in 2009:

Referee Hugh Evans had to leave at halftime, a victim of dehydration. Robert Parish sat out a stretch of the second half with leg cramps. But there was one player who applied mind over matter better than everyone else, one player who not only overcame the circumstances to play a good game of basketball, but who so took to the conditions that he played one of the great games of his life.

As my mother used to say, I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count.

“I play in this stuff all the time back home, ” sneered Larry Bird. “It’s like this all summer.”

He had just played 42 minutes in Kareem’s sauna. He had scored 34 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and shot 15 for 20. He even blocked a James Worthy shot. The Celtics had won, 121-103, to take charge of a series they would win in seven, and the man deserving the first, second, and third stars was No. 33.

“The man who made the difference was Bird,” acknowledged Lakers coach Pat Riley. “He was just awesome. He made everything work. He was the catalyst, and that’s what happens when great players come to the front.”

“I’ve never seen him as intense as he was tonight,” said Kevin McHale. “Never.”

Legends don’t cramp.

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  • Curt Hays

    “Legends don’t cramp.”

    Fking awesome.

    • Thatguy

      “Robert Parish sat out a stretch of the second half with leg cramps.”


      • Curt Hays

        Cheifs can get cramps, but legends don’t.

        • Thatguy

          Well played.

          I just thought I’d bring that up, not saying anything bad about Parish.

          …On a side note, I may get some flak for this, but I honestly feel bad for Lebron that game. I’m rooting for the Spurs, but the look on his face as his team fell apart without him on the floor got to me. I’ve had moments like then when playing,(I have a bad leg) and I can’t get back and play.

          • Curt Hays

            I feel bad for the guy as well. I suffer from cramps quite often. I’ve all but eliminated them with the proper levels of electrolytes (and by not trying very hard anymore!), but it still happens. I just feel like he should have a nutritionist. They used to talk about sodium pills back in the day, why do we only ever hear about the trainers telling them to hydrate? Why are they not talking about getting your magnesium/potassium/calcium/sodium supplements all at once during the game? I may not be at LBJ’s level, but I do go 100% for what CLH can do. When I get cramps, I always feel like I let my team down as well. It’s brutal for him, I’m sure.

  • eddysamson

    So what is Lebron’s excuse when this happens and its not 90+ in the arena?

    • jrleftfoot

      next time he has a debilitating cramp when the A.C. is working , let us know. I always have rooted against the guy, but I`m not going to imagine reasons to criticize him . Apparently you are. Go for it

      • Patrick Wells

        Game 4 two years ago against OKC. Nuff said.

        • jrleftfoot

          who won that series and series MVP.? Nuff said.

          • Patrick Wells

            No, that’s not relevant. You said “Next time he has a debilitating cramp when the AC is working, let us know.” I mentioned another pivotal game where he had a debilitating cramp. He deserves criticism for this. He needs to learn how to manage it, since it is a completely preventable thing.

  • Bayern

    for Bird cramps was least of problems. he faced bigger challenge because of back pain. McHale played with a broken foot. that still hurts him.

    • jrleftfoot

      You can play through pain. When you have cramps , you can`t move. I can`t believe I`m defending Lebron , but most of these posts are idiotic.

  • Chulinho

    Maybe it’s just me… but I feel like people need to examine their hatred for LeBron.

    • eddysamson

      Okay lets see. There’s the fact that he’s the best in the NBA and he still is among the most bitchy players in the league when it comes to officiating not going his way. There’s the whole “Decision” BS (which is 2 part in A, publicizing himself to that extend and B a massive slap in the face to Cleveland’s fans) theres the way he calls himself King. There was his old questionable disappearing act at the end of games (mostly fixed that now). There’s the way he sells fouls (league-wide problem admittedly but he is pretty damn bad about it). I also feel like his arrival made Dwade into one of the dirtiest players in the league although you can’t prove the connection, he wasn’t so dirty before 2011. I also hate how most of the media has him up on a pedestal.

      I know every single reason why I don’t like him. What’s the problem with that?

      • jrleftfoot

        He ” made” Wade a dirty player. You people are funny.He invaded Iraq, too didn`t he? Wait, you probably think that was a great idea.

    • forever_green

      I’ve re examined & I still hate him & the heat 100%.

  • jrleftfoot

    The bigger your muscles the more likely you are to cramp. I`ll take Bird all day every day , but cramps are involuntary and you can`t play through them . It`s as simple as that

    • eddysamson

      They’re also mostly preventable with proper diet and hydration and intake of sodium (electrolytes)

      • jrleftfoot

        maybe you can apply for a trainer position

        • Mike C

          Maybe you can hand him some ‘Midol’ before he walks on the floor for game #2. Everyone remember to kiss Lebrons ass…remember it’s ALL about him! Lets NOT give any credit to the 3 future Hall of Fame players on the Spurs team that gutted it out in the ‘Same Exact’ conditions. Yeah, Let’s Not Do That!!!

          • jrleftfoot

            you people are kissing his ass, in effect, with your irrational hatred. try focusing your vitriol on something that matters. they don`t boo nobodies and discussing what James did years ago is pointless . sounds like a lot of folks are green with envy

  • Mike C

    I knew I was going to see this topic brought up today. My two viewpoints: #1) Everytime Lebron goes off on one of his 40+ point games, every media outlet cant get the story out quickly enough about how he’s the greatest thing to ever happen in basketball. At the same moment, everytime another team digs deep and’guts-out’ a win over the heat, the same media makes countless excuses why Lebron didnt perform to expectations. “The Spurs had more HEART last night and fought through adverse conditions to get the win. End of story!
    #2) Every year, the top tennis professionals in the world compete at the ‘Australian Open’. On court temps are consistently 120 degrees/plus. Matches can go from 3 to 6 hours long. EVERY YEAR, at least one or two players fights through leg cramps in the biggest match of their careers. SO… I dont want to hear how it was impossible for Lebron to continue. “Your legs cramped up after 40 minutes of play & you couldn’t continue,…TOUGH,… Sh*t happens! Stop crying about it. And ‘Yes’, to any response’s to follow, ‘I have had my legs lock up with cramps during sports in high school/ College. Although extremely painful, the muscles DO losen up once you intake fluids.

  • Suarez

    And who could ever forget this. Classic Bird.