The recent exploits of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James are going down as perhaps the ultimate example of a transcendent athlete willing a depleted roster toward a world championship. Without Kevin Love, without Kyrie Irving, LBJ and a ragtag bunch of basketball misfits have given league MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors all they can handle and then some.
Despite the King’s dominance in this year’s NBA Finals, he’s not the first hoops star to exhibit a legendary level of determination and power through adverse circumstances. Yesterday (June 11th) marked the 18th anniversary of another star’s refusal to lose on the game’s grandest stage. Unquestionably one of the most incredible individual performances in NBA Playoffs history–Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz.
Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game.”
Just in time for Flashback Friday, here is how it all went down for His Airness on that fabled day in Salt Lake City–
Despite his flu-like symptoms (some even theorized that employees at the team’s hotel poisoned Jordan’s pizza), the star scored 38 points and led his Bulls team to a series-shifting victory over league MVP Karl Malone and the Jazz.
In other words, a basketball icon led his team through adversity to capture victory over a reigning NBA MVP. As the old saying goes, history repeats itself.