“I Couldn’t Breathe, I Played Myself Into Passing Out”: The Story of Michael Jordan and His Unbelievable Flu Game

By 2 months ago

The term ‘NBA legend’ is synonymous with Michael Jordan. When one talks about the superstar’s NBA basketball career, the “Flu Game” cannot go unmentioned.

Michael Jordan sets a standard

Every basketball fan is aware of Michael Jordan and his storied game. However, what makes MJ great is his determination and dedication towards the sport.

One such example of MJ’s dedication is what we now know as his “flu game”.

On 11 June 1997, the Chicago Bulls stood tied 2-2 with the Utah Jazz heading into a pivotal fifth game in Utah. As fans around the globe tuned in, news that Michael Jordan was suffering from “flu-like symptoms” spread. He was extremely sick. However, he attempted to play the game anyway.

Jordan played 44 minutes, scoring 38 points, even though the effects of the sickness were visible. It was a true moment for sports history books.

He talked about how he played for so long, considering his condition.

“I almost played myself into passing out, I came in and I was almost dehydrated, and it was all just to win a basketball game,” Jordan said after the 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.”

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The various conspired reasons for MJ’s “flu”

As time passed, the legend of the “Flu Game” grew. New information became public. Apparently, Jordan wasn’t suffering from the flu. Instead, a bad case of food poisoning hit him the previous night.

Contrastingly, many people concocted theories that Jordan was hungover during the game, despite people close to him confirming the food poisoning story. Michael Jordan’s previous trainer Tim Grover believed a bad pizza MJ ate the night before is what did him in and created the legendary moment we’re still talking about now.

Tim Grover told Chicago Sun Times,

“So we order a pizza, they come to deliver it, five guys come to deliver this pizza. And I’m just … I take the pizza, and I tell them, I said, ‘I got a bad feeling about this.’ I said, ‘I just got a bad feeling about this.’ Out of everybody in the room, he was the only one that ate.”

“Nobody else … then 2 o’clock in the morning, I get a call to my room. I come to the room, he’s curled up, he’s curled up in the fetal position. We’re looking at him. We’re finding the team physician at that time. And immediately I said, ‘It’s food poisoning.’ Guaranteed. Not the flu.”

Even today, the legend of the “Flu Game” still amazes fans. Michael Jordan became the personification of the phrase “mind over matter.” He trained his mind to play the best game possible in his condition and emerged victorious.

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