James was forced to the bench during the fourth quarter of the Miami Heat's 110-95 Game 1 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday. An air-conditioning failure at the AT&T Center caused temperatures on the court to approach 90 degrees and likely was to blame for James' cramping issues. But James said he was angry his body let him down in such a crucial moment -- it was a two-point game when he was forced to leave the game for good.
"For obvious reasons, I was angry, I was disappointed in myself," James said Friday. "I did everything that I needed to do to prepare for this game, prepare for this moment and to feel like my body failed me. ... I was angry in the fact that I couldn't help my team get over the hump. In a huge Game 1, I wanted to make a statement."
James was made aware of the backlash against him because of his inability to continue, as his toughness was questioned on social media and he was mocked by Gatorade for not being hydrated enough. James endorses Gatorade's rival, Powerade, but drinks Gatorade during games because it is the official NBA sponsor.
"I really don't care what people say about me, I don't care about that drink group. ... I'm not even going to say their name," James said. "This is about the Spurs and the Heat, and it's not about everybody else. I don't care."
Earlier Friday, the AT&T Center released a statement saying the air-conditioning issues had been fixed and tested and would be operational for Game 2 on Sunday.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said if the Spurs can't get the building to an appropriate temperature for the rest of their home games in the Finals, they should be fined by the NBA.
"We're not making any excuses for [the loss], it was an extreme unfortunate situation for both teams," Spoelstra said. "It probably won't happen again ... unless they don't get it fixed -- which, if they don't, there should be a fine."