He left the game early and the Miami Heat went on to lose to the San Antonio Spurs, 110-95.
An air conditioning problem at the AT&T Center, where the game was played, led to very warm conditions inside the arena on Thursday night.
James could be seen on the sidelines with a yellow-tinted drink.
Ryan Koo, who uses the Twitter handle @ryanbkoo, tweeted: “Hey @Gatorade where's all your sports science magic for preventing cramps in your no. 1 client @KingJames?” -- not realizing that James actually endorses Gatorade rival Powerade, which is made by Coca-Cola. Dwyane Wade, James’ teammate, endorses Gatorade.
Tweets from the @Gatorade Twitter handle included a response to Koo: “@ryanbkoo The person cramping wasn’t our client. Our athletes can take the heat.”
Another post from @Gatorade was: “@LazyBumDrew we were waiting on the sidelines, but he prefers to drink something else.”
Those messages have been removed from the main @Gatorade page, but are still visible where Gatorade's replies are shown.
Chicago-based Gatorade, which is owned by PepsiCo Inc., apologized for the incident, but did not say who on its team had posted the comments.
“Our apologies for our response to fans’ tweets during last night’s Heat vs. Spurs game,” Gatorade said in a statement. “We got caught up in the heat of the battle. As a longtime partner of the Miami Heat, we support the entire team.”
The Twitter issue coincidentally came as the company tries to promote its drinks as a way for athletes to “Beat the Heat.” This week, Gatorade announced the 10th year of an educational campaign called “Gatorade Beat the Heat,” which it said raises awareness “on how proper hydration can help reduce heat-related illnesses during athletic activity.” The NBA is one of its league partners in that effort.
As of Friday afternoon, LeBron James had not made any comments about the issue via his Twitter handle, @KingJames.
But Lakers star Kobe Bryant weighed in on the sports drink issue while also promoting BodyArmor, a drink he has invested in. Bryant’s message, via @kobebryant, began “Pro and college players should be allowed to CHOOSE what sports drink hydrates them the best” and went on to link to an Instagram page with a photo of BodyArmor.email@example.com
@LazyBumDrew we were waiting on the sidelines, but he prefers to drink something else.— Gatorade (@Gatorade) June 6, 2014