As I soaked in the ambiance of Twitter following the Cavaliers win on Friday night, Jack Silverstein came across my timeline with a link to his piece about the 20th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s Flu Game, otherwise known as Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. While the basketball of the 1990’s NBA has been trashed by many, especially with what LeBron James has accomplished in recent years, it’s still my most favorite era because my favorite player of all-time was involved in every season other than 3 (93-94, 94-95, and 98-99).
After two hard fought victories in Chicago, the Bulls had went to Utah and promptly been outworked in Games 3 and 4 by the Jazz. This Jazz team was no different than any other Jazz team of the 90s, just that Karl Malone was MVP and that John Stockton had hit a 3-pointer to get them to the Finals for the first time. But when Stockton and Malone were matched with the youth of Byron Russell, the consistency of Jeff Hornacek, and the calming presence of Jerry Sloan, this was a team on the verge of taking a 3-2 lead on the defending champion Bulls. The Bulls had not trailed a championship series since 1991. Despite home court advantage, having to win two elimination games against a team with all the momentum wasn’t going to be an easy task.
But then Michael Jordan got the stomach flu.
I also ran across an awesome Outside The Lines feature on Michael turning 50 and Bryan Curtis of The Ringer detailed how Sam Smith’s 1991 book The Jordan Rules made MJ seem… human.
If you want to fully understand Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game,” you first have to understand one of Michael Jordan’s greatest statistics: 357. – A look back at Michael Jordan’s Flu Game 20 years later
Five weeks before his 50th birthday, Michael Jordan sits behind his desk, overlooking a parking garage in downtown Charlotte. The cell phone in front of him buzzes with potential trades and league proposals about placing ads on jerseys. A rival wants his best players and wants to give him nothing in return. Jordan bristles. He holds a Cuban cigar in his hand. Smoking is allowed. – OTL: Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building
What, you’re still watching the NBA Finals? Right after Steph Curry turned into Curly Neal, I went over to my bookshelf and pulled down a volume that’s quietly enjoying its 25th anniversary. It’s called The Jordan Rules. It was written by Sam Smith in 1991. It was a simpler time. We didn’t have Woj bombs, but we made do. – How ‘The Jordan Rules’ Created the Era of NBA Gossip