15 Years Ago Today, Michael Jordan’s Flu Game Happened

  • Matt Rudnitsky

15 years ago, today, Michael Jordan woke up in the middle of the night, feeling “partially paralyzed.” The Bulls medical staff told him, “There’s no way you’ll be able to play Game 5.” But Jordan somehow found a way onto the court and produced one of the most impressive performances in NBA history. In what will forever be known as “The Flu Game,” Jordan willed his team to a 90-88 win and a 3-2 series lead over the Utah Jazz. He poured in a game-high 38 points on 13-of-27 shooting, adding seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.

He awoke at 3 p.m., just hours before tip-off, but managed to play 44 minutes and score 15 fourth-quarter points. The game ended with the iconic image of a fatigued Jordan dropping his head into Scottie Pippen’s arms. The Bulls went on to win Game 6, and Jordan (unsurprisingly) won his fifth NBA Finals MVP. Check out the highlights from one of Jordan’s greatest performances:

Additionally, for an interesting account of Jordan’s struggle, check this out.