The NBA has auctioned the jersey worn by Heat forward LeBron James during the first half of Game 1 of the 2014 Finals -- the infamous "Cramp Game" -- for more than $50,000.
Even though Miami lost that game to San Antonio -- and went on to lose the series in five games -- the jersey stands as a key piece of memorabilia from one of the most unusual nights in recent NBA history. The Spurs defeated the Heat 110-95 on June 5 in a contest marred by the AT&T Center's broken air conditioning system. Temperatures in the gym reached close to 90 degrees, and many players, including James, changed their uniforms at halftime because the heat caused them to perspire so much. Eventually, James, who previously dealt with cramps during the 2012 Finals, was forced from action during the fourth quarter with cramping in his left leg.
The NBA's official auction site listed James' jersey, which was worn during the first half of Game 1, along with jerseys belonging to Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard, among others. James' jersey drew 21 total bids, including the winning $50,020 bid by an anonymous buyer. The red XXL Adidas jersey bears a Finals patch on its left shoulder and was authenticated by the league. Bidding closed on Tuesday.
James' jersey from the game, to no one's great surprise, drew the largest bid. Duncan's was second with a $20,770 sale price.
The four-time MVP and two-time champion first exited Game 1 with 7:31 remaining in the fourth quarter, and San Antonio responded with a 10-4 run. James then returned to the game with 4:33 remaining, taking the ball hard to the rack for a quick lay-up. As play continued the other way, James immediately called for help to the Heat's bench, waving in pain as he wobbled on his right leg. As James sat, the Spurs closed on a 16-3 run.
Following Game 1, James did not meet with the media as he instead received multiple IV bags worth of liquids to help him recover and prepare for Game 2. He told reporters the day after Game 1 that he had "never played an NBA game like it was last night," and referred to the building's temperature as "extreme conditions."
"It just got to a point where the body just had enough, just dehydrated," James said. "Between jumping and running, and cutting and sweating, and a little bit of everything, exhaustion, you know, the body just hit the shutdown. ... To feel like my body failed me last night, I was angry in the fact that I couldn't help my team get over the hump. In a huge Game 1, wanting to make a statement. ... [I felt] disappointed in myself, angry at myself that I couldn't be out there where I knew my team needed me the most. That was frustrating for sure."
Despite the cramps, James finished with game-high 25 points (on 9-of-17 shooting), six rebounds, three assists and three steals in 33 minutes. Although James bounced back nicely to lead Miami to a Game 2 victory, the Heat would lose the next three, ending their three-peat bid.
Finals memorabilia has been popular auction fare in recent years.
A former ballboy for the Jazz auctioned the autographed Jordan XII sneakers worn by Bulls legend Michael Jordan during his famous "Flu Game" -- Game 5 of the 1997 Finals -- for $104,765 in 2013.
Then, former NBA guard Eric Snow auctioned the autographed Jordan XI sneakers worn by Jordan during Game 5 of the 1996 Finals for $17,126 earlier this year.