Remembering Michael Jordan's 'Flu Game'
Michael Jordan's legendary basketball career includes some of the greatest moments of NBA history. The 'Flu game' was one of those memories to look back on. As ill as Jordan was, however, it didn’t keep him from giving his best.
It was game 5 of the 1997 Finals, Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz were tied at 2-2. Jordan was suffering from flu-like symptoms and was very sick, but he still wouldn't sit this one out.
Commentator Marv Albert on the broadcast before the match said, “The big story here tonight — the story concerning Michael Jordan’s physical condition, Jordan arriving two hours ago. He is suffering from flu-like symptoms."
Jordan started the game like his usual self, showing his phenomenal skills. He played it easy in the first and third quarters, with four and two points respectively and played big in the second and fourth quarters with 17 and then 15 points.
During timeouts, he sat on the bench with an icepack on his neck or head. In the final quarter with 46 seconds left, he tied the game with a free throw, and his last shot was a three-pointer with 25 seconds to play.
Chicago won the game 90-88, Michael played 44 minutes, playing more minutes than any Utah player, scoring 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block, despite being visibly affected by the sickness. Fifteen years later, Jordan’s former personal trainer Tim Grover revealed that Jordan played against the Jazz with food poisoning, not flu.
Jordan stated, "I almost played myself into passing out,” Jordan said after the game. “I came in and I was almost dehydrated, and it was all just to win a basketball game. I couldn’t breathe. My energy level was really low. My mouth was really dry. They started giving me Gatorade, and I thought about IV.”
Regardless of what contributed to Jordan’s illness, the game was simply amazing. It was a moment that won’t be forgotten. Being able to perform at that level with flu or food poisoning is not easy.
After the game, Jordan could barely stand. He carried his team to an all-important win. Jordan is considered as the biggest star in the NBA history and always gave his best, even when he was not fit.
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