Skip to content

Michael Jordan left an NBA Finals game due to cramps, too

Jun 6, 2014, 11:22 AM EST

BULLS JAZZ JORDAN PIPPEN BULLS JAZZ JORDAN PIPPEN

Michael Jordan had the flu game.

LeBron James had the cramp game.

In Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, Jordan scored 38 points while battling a 103-degree fever in the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Utah Jazz.

In Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals, LeBron left in the forth quarter due to cramps in the Miami Heat’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Want to use the difference in production and outcome to hammer LeBron and praise Jordan? I guess that’s your prerogative, though it seems silly to equate two very different health concerns.

But if you’re going to use Jordan’s flu game to bash LeBron, let’s talk about Game 4 of the 1997 NBA Finals.

Roland Lazenby’s “Michael Jordan: The Life” (hat tip: Bill Barnwell of Grantland):

It would later be learned that a Bulls team assistant had mistakenly replaced the players’ Gatorade with GatorLode, a heavy drink used for building carbs. “It was like eating baked potatoes,” explained trainer Chip Schaeffer. Down the stretch, Chicago’s players complained of stomach cramps and Jordan even asked to sit for a time, something he never did at a key moment.

Circumstances out of the players’ control? Check.

Cramping? Check.

Asking out of an NBA Finals game? Check.

Just as LeBron couldn’t do anything about the lack of air conditioning in San Antonio, Jordan couldn’t control for the team team assistant. The results and effect were the same.

Was Jordan mentally tougher than LeBron? Probably. Jordan is likely the fiercest competitor in NBA history.

But cramps can temporarily debilitate even those whose will to win is unquestioned.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Sixers engaged in buyout talks with JaVale McGee

    Mar 1, 2015, 4:30 PM EST

    Indiana Pacers v Philadelphia 76ers Getty Images

    The deadline for McGee to be waived in order to be eligible to join another team for the playoffs is midnight Sunday.

  2. Adam Silver says data may prove Gregg Popovich right in terms of resting multiple players

    Mar 1, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    SAN ANTONIO SPURS V DALLAS MAVERICKS Getty Images

    Silver talked about the league one day sharing injury data at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.

  3. Jordan Brand previews 2015 holiday retro lineup (PHOTOS)

    Mar 1, 2015, 11:30 AM EST

    304775-142_Back3Q_native_600

    A look at upcoming retro releases of the Jordan VIII, Jordan 1, Jordan XIV Low, and the Jordan VII.

  4. Markieff Morris rips Suns fans after blowout home loss to Spurs

    Mar 1, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

    Odd timing, only because fans in Phoenix have historically shown up for games against San Antonio and Los Angeles.

  5. Michael Beasley with a monster slam over Hawks’ Mike Muscala (VIDEO)

    Mar 1, 2015, 8:33 AM EST

    Milwaukee Bucks v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Beasley throws one down in his second game back with the Heat.

  6. Daryl Morey: ‘Take James Harden off our team, and we’re nowhere’

    Feb 28, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan, James Harden J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan, James Harden

    Rockets general manager says he recommended trading ‘everything’ for Harden in 2012

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (8670)
  2. K. Durant (8134)
  3. D. Howard (7591)
  4. S. Curry (7492)
  5. R. Westbrook (7372)
  1. P. George (6779)
  2. A. Davis (6514)
  3. L. James (6407)
  4. M. Carter-Williams (6077)
  5. B. Beal (6064)