June 9, 2014
Gatorade has apologized for comments posted on the brand’s Twitter feed Thursday night after Miami Heat star LeBron James cramped up and had to leave Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Associated Press reports.
“We were waiting on the sidelines, but he prefers to drink something else,” said one tweet that the sports drink posted in response to a fan’s message. James endorses Powerade, a Gatorade rival.
However, photos from the game showed James drinking what appeared to be Gatorade on the bench. (The NBA pays Gatorade a reported $18 million a year to be the association's "official sports drink.") Given this, Gatorade’s Twitter taunts looked foolish in retrospect — and its product ineffective, according to Digiday.
The Spurs won the game 110-95, taking the lead after James left with cramps in his left leg. James reportedly required IV fluids after the game, during which temperatures inside San Antonio’s AT&T Center neared 90 degrees after its air conditioning failed.
“Our apologies for our response to fans’ tweets during [Thursday] night’s Heat vs. Spurs game,” Gatorade said in a release. “We got caught up in the heat of the battle.”
James was quickly criticized on social media after cramping in Game 1, with memes and jokes circulating online. Said James in response, “I really don’t care what people say about me.” — Greg Beaubien