Skip to content

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

Jun 6, 2014, 11:22 AM EDT

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. Team USA going small ball, but how many bigs do they keep on the bench?

    Jul 30, 2014, 8:40 AM EDT

    Mike Krzyzewski Mike Krzyzewski

    “Everyone talks about match-ups (with big teams such as Spain), people have to match-up against us, too.” — USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski

  2. Report: LeBron James more popular than he ever was with the Heat

    Jul 30, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    LeBron still not as popular as prior to The Decision, though. It’s only a matter of time until he is.

  3. Dion Waiters explains tweet saying he wouldn’t accept bench role

    Jul 30, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT

    2013 Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day 2013 Cleveland Cavaliers Media Day

    Cavaliers guard says initial response stemmed from his straightforward approach, confidence

  4. NBA considering charity All-Star game in South Africa

    Jul 30, 2014, 12:30 AM EDT

    Nelson Mandela Nelson Mandela

    Collective Bargaining Agreement limits offseason charity games to United States and Canada

  5. Report: Gregg Popovich had hip-replacement surgery

    Jul 29, 2014, 10:33 PM EDT

    2014 NBA Finals - Game Five Getty Images

    Popovich signed contract extension with Spurs this offseason

  6. Durant says 2014 USA team better than 2010 version that won gold

    Jul 29, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT

    Image (1) durant_usa_fun-thumb-250x159-20234.jpg for post 4140

    “That 2010 team was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I think we have a team that’s even better.” —Kevin Durant

  7. Report: Magic signing Peyton Siva to unguaranteed contract

    Jul 29, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT

    Detroit Pistons v Orlando Magic Detroit Pistons v Orlando Magic

    Orlando reportedly plans to send former Pistons point guard to D-League

  8. Kevin Durant knows you’re talking about his free agency but isn’t giving many clues. He liked what LeBron did.

    Jul 29, 2014, 7:51 PM EDT

    2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team Practice Getty Images

    “I just tell everybody that I’m here in Oklahoma City, I love it here. Who knows what will happen.” —Kevin Durant on his 2016 free agency.

  9. Report: Eric Bledsoe-Suns ‘relationship is on the express lane to being ruined’

    Jul 29, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

    Eric Bledsoe, Jeff Hornacek, Goran Dragic Eric Bledsoe, Jeff Hornacek, Goran Dragic

    Bledsoe reportedly resents how differently Pistons, Jazz and Rockets treated their restricted free agents

  10. Report: Mike Scott considering ‘lucrative’ offer to play in Russia

    Jul 29, 2014, 6:22 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Indiana Pacers - Game Seven Getty Images

    CSKA-Moscow wants to poach Scott from Atlanta Hawks

  11. Mavericks sign Ivan Johnson

    Jul 29, 2014, 5:37 PM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v Atlanta Hawks Dallas Mavericks v Atlanta Hawks

    Johnson gets NBA contract after eventful summer league

  12. Report: Timberwolves told Kevin Love to sit out the World Cup

    Jul 29, 2014, 4:55 PM EDT

    Kevin Love Kevin Love

    I’m not sure Love is taking advice from Minnesota right now

  13. Byron Scott makes ridiculous optimism sound reasonable

    Jul 29, 2014, 4:11 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Byron Scott Getty Images

    Lakers introduce Scott as new coach in press conference

  14. Derrick Rose told Carmelo Anthony that if he came to Chicago “the game would be easy”

    Jul 29, 2014, 3:24 PM EDT

    2014 USA Basketball Men's National Team Practice Getty Images

    Rose said he was disappointed but he understands ‘Melo’s decision.

  15. LeBron James strips on stage, throws clothes into crowd (video)

    Jul 29, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    LeBron James LeBron James

    Want to see LeBron strip down to his underwear?

  16. Steve Nash: ‘I think this is my last season’

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT

    Steve Nash, Meta World Peace Steve Nash, Meta World Peace

    Lakers guard confirms he’s planning on retirement

  17. PBT Extra: Is this the end of Donald Sterling as NBA owner?

    Jul 29, 2014, 1:11 PM EDT

    Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

    Donald Sterling isn’t going away, but he’s pretty much done as the Clippers owner now.

  18. Grizzlies name general manager Chris Wallace general manager

    Jul 29, 2014, 12:28 PM EDT

    Yes, you read that headline correctly

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. T. Warren (4899)
  2. L. James (4335)
  3. K. Love (3709)
  4. D. Rose (3333)
  5. R. Allen (3110)
  1. J. Nelson (3029)
  2. C. Anthony (2980)
  3. K. Bryant (2751)
  4. A. Aminu (2120)
  5. C. Boozer (2046)