During Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, known as “The Flu Game”, Michael Jordan put on one of the more courageous moments in sports to date. On Tuesday, Jordan woke up nauseated and sweating profusely. He hardly had the strength to sit up in bed and was diagnosed with a stomach virus or food poisoning. The Bulls trainers told Jordan that there was no way he could play the next day. The Bulls opponent in the series, the Utah Jazz, won the last two games, making an even series at two wins apiece and putting the Bulls championship run in jeopardy. Despite his ailments, Jordan rose from bed at 3 p.m., in time for the 6 o’clock tip-off at the Delta Center in Utah. Jordan was visibly weak and pale during the game. During the beginning of the game, he displayed little energy, and the Jazz took a 16 point lead in the second quarter. However, Jordan slowly began to make shots despite lacking his usual health.
Jordan played 44 of the 48 minutes of the game, despite his weakened body. He was visibly tired and oft-sluggish throughout the game. He finished the game with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. With only a few seconds remaining and Chicago wrapping up the win, Jordan collapsed into Scottie Pippen’s arms, creating the most replayed and lasting image of The Flu Game. Even though Michael Jordan could practically outplay anybody on the basketball court, his courage and determination remain legendary. He fought through a serious illness and propelled his team to victory that night. If you truly believe in your abilities and have the heart to play through pain, you can accomplish anything. Michael Jordan is a walking testament to that. He game speaks volumes but his competitive nature may speak even louder.