Michael Jordan appeared to be on a different plane of existence than any other NBA player when he rocketed toward the rim. While everyone else wore the same jersey, shorts, and shoes as Jordan, this man just wasn’t the same as the others.
When a Game 1 buzzer-beater isn’t your most memorable NBA Finals moment, you know you’re clutch. But “The Flu Game” is simply one of the most famous sporting performances in history and the most visible evidence of MJ’s unmatched passion to win. Michael Jordan used some deeper power to put up 38 points in a Game 5 victory over the Utah Jazz.
What do you actually know about “The Flu Game” except the main events of Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, when Jordan led the Bulls to a 90-88 victory while feeling ill? Let’s look back on what happened in Salt Lake City 25 years ago.
Game 5 was crucial since the Bulls and Jazz were tied 2-2 in the series. Jordan wasn’t certain to play because he had significant flu-like symptoms before the game. Despite being ill, Jordan insisted on playing in such a pivotal game.
According to ESPN, the pair of sneakers Michael Jordan wore during the 1997 NBA Finals’ infamous “Flu Game” went for $1.38 million at auction. Jordan carried the Bulls despite being worn out and dehydrated, scoring 38 points, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out five assists, and getting three steals on 48.1% shooting. This occurred as the Bulls won 90-88 on the road to take a 3-2 series lead.
Michael Jordan believes food poisoning from a ‘bad pizza’ caused his iconic ‘flu game’
There has been so much discussion over the history of “The Flu Game” that it’s possible that you mixed fact and fiction. Jordan had “flu-like symptoms,“ said Marv Albert, the play-by-play announcer, before Game 5. Jordan claimed that following the game, he felt “almost dehydrated” and “couldn’t breathe.”
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But years later, the truth came to light. Jordan’s former personal trainer, Tim Grover, claimed on TrueHoop TV in 2013 that Jordan was actually suffering from food poisoning rather than the flu. The night before Game 5, he had placed a pizza delivery at the team’s hotel because there was no room service available. Apparently, the ‘bad pizza’ caused the food poisoning and ultimately the ‘flu game’.
Jordan later admitted, “Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I almost played myself into passing out just to win a basketball game.” Bulls coach Phil Jackson said, “This was a heroic effort, one to add to the collection of efforts that make up his legend.” After winning Game 6, the Bulls would go on to win the series 4-2 in the end. Jordan and the Bulls won their fifth NBA title with the victory.