Michael Jordan's storied career has given birth to a number of epic stories and legends. Perhaps the most well-known of these stories is 'The Flu Game', considered to be one of Jordan's greatest feats by several NBA fans as well as players. Dealing with severe dehydration and illness in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, Jordan still dropped 38 points in 44 minutes and led the Bulls to a 90-88 victory.
As revealed in the Last Dance documentary, Jordan ate bad pizza in Utah the night before the game, with flu not even being the primary reason for his poor health. Regardless of what it was, Utah coach Jerry Sloan couldn't believe that Jordan was sick at all, saying so in his post-match press conference (via Sports Casting).
“First of all, I didn’t know he’s sick,” Sloan said. “And I thought he played a great game. Did everybody else know he was sick? I guess I was the last one to know.”
Jordan's 38 points somehow came on pretty decent efficiency, scoring over 40% from the field as well as three-point range and going 10-12 on his free throws. Jordan also buried the clutch shot with 25.0 seconds left in the game that eventually led to the Bulls winning. He had a whopping 15 points in the 4th quarter, an incredible performance. Jordan himself addressed his performance after the game, in conversation with Ahmad Rashad.
“It’s all about desire,” Jordan said. “You just gotta come out here and do what you gotta do. We wanted it real bad, and me as the leader, I had to come out and do my best, and hopefully, the team could rally around me and come out and make contributions. I was really tired, very weak. At halftime, I told Phil (Jackson) that use me in spurts, but I mean, I somehow found the energy.”
Whether it's the 'Flu Game' or the 'Food Poisoning Game', it will forever be remembered as one of the greatest individual performances in the history of basketball. The game exemplified what made Jordan the GOAT in a lot of people's eyes, MJ just always seemed to want to win more than anything or anyone else.