June 11, 2012

Mike Mondays: The Flu Game

Fifteen years ago this evening, Michael Jordan stood in Utah tied 2-2 in a pivotal Game 5 against Karl Malone, Karl Malone’s MVP award which should’ve gone to Mike, John Stockton and the very real possibility of being one loss away from his first Finals defeat. Then, between June 8 and June 11, Mike became sick; so ill his status for Game 5 was in jeopardy with “flu-like symptoms.” What happened next – 38 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and one kick ass Gatorade commercial – has been documented as a valiant performance only helping to cement Jordan’s GOAT status.

Time affords the greatest hindsight, which is why as the years have passed the rumors of Mike having “flu-like symptoms” seem further and further far-fetched. Remember in May 1993 when a report of Mike missing curfew the night before a playoff game versus the Knicks surfaced? Well, if you don’t, the story goes M.J. traveled to Atlantic City and had a grand old time doing only the Big Man above knows what. Well, so offended by the report, he baptized the Knicks in what’s still remembered as one of the greatest “sick my duck” games in the modern era. I say all that to say this. Losing two straight to the Jazz, maybe (just maybe) Mike hopped on a private flight to Las Vegas, got some gambling in, got Justin Blackmon wasted and flew back. Seeing as how Mike’s gambling issues were well documented, flu-like symptoms was a safe cover. I’ll give you the fever, but vomiting? Unable to keep food down? Dehydrated? That sounds like the result of too good of a night if you ask me. Look, Mike could have very well got sick as history claims he did, but where everyone remembers “Flu Game,” I remember “Hangover Game.” And to keep it 100, isn’t playing with Hennessy and Irish Car Bombs still seeping through your pores more impressive, anyway?

Via tss

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