Commenting on the G1 of the NBA Finals, which the San Antonio Spurs won 110-95, Ellis said that 90 degree temperatures are not the perfect environment for playing basketball, but the game must continue.
Following game 1 of the Finals, a lot of fans blamed the air conditioning malfunction on the loss. Lebron James had to twice head to the bench in the final quarter because he was cramping.
Ellis said the “heat” towards Lebron wasn’t fair.
“Can you believe all the conversation about LeBron? Cramps in the 4th quarter prevented the best player in basketball from finishing the game. How can anyone question LeBron not playing due to cramps and compare it to Michael Jordan playing with the flu? Nonsense,” he said.
“No one can play through cramps. I’m sure that he would have loved to finish a game that many thought the Heat would win. Why risk a muscle tear in an attempt to achieve this?” he added.
Prior to the Finals, Ellis said that the Spurs are looking to avenge last year’s loss, while the Heat looking to make history.
It should be noted that Ellis himself played two seasons with the Spurs (1992-93, 1993-94), averaging 15.9 ppg in 33.5 mpg.
“I must admit that I picked the Spurs to win last year and I believe that they will win this year. The Spurs arguably have the best coach in the game, Gregg Popovich and his team is playing the best basketball in the playoffs thus far,” Ellis had said.
Ellis won the Long Distance Shootout during the 1989 NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston. In the actual All-Star game that year, he scored 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting. He earned third-team All-NBA honors in 1988-89 after averaging 4.2 rebounds and a career-best 27.5 points per game (third in the league, behind only Michael Jordan [32.5 ppg] and Karl Malone [29.1 ppg]).
In 1986-87, he garnered the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award after averaging 24.9 ppg for the Seattle Supersonics.
During his 19 NBA seasons, he played six-plus years with Seattle and also spent time with Dallas, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Denver, Charlotte. Ellis appeared in total of 1209 NBA games (589 started), averaging 15.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg in 28.8 minutes per contest.
Upon retirement, Ellis traveled the world as an ambassador of the game. For 12 years, he visited places such as Asia, Europe and South America. He spent time in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait visiting U.S. troops.
Ellis now resides in his hometown of Marietta and serves as president of the Atlanta chapter of the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA).Follow @exnbadotcom
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