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. Nigeria beats Angola to win AfroBasket, qualify for Rio Olympics

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:16 PM EDT

    Olympics Day 10 - Basketball Getty Images

    Al-Farouq Aminu is headed back to the Olympics.

  2. Sneaky good summer move: Spurs trade for Ray McCallum

    Aug 30, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT

    Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    We’ll all look back at the McCallum trade and say “it’s the Spurs doing Spurs things again.”

  3. Report: Heat want to take long look at young guards before trading Mario Chalmers

    Aug 30, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Mario Chalmers AP

    Can Johnson take on the backup point guard role if Chalmers was moved?

  4. Gov. Scott Walker defends $250 million Milwaukee arena deal as “fiscally responsible”

    Aug 30, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Scott Walker AP

    “You’re talking about being a fiscally responsible person, I am. That’s precisely why I did this.” —Scott Walker

  5. Hornets’ coach says rookie Frank Kaminsky needs to add strength

    Aug 30, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Getty Images

    He may start at the four for Charlotte this year.

  6. Anthony Davis “definitely” plans on shooting more threes this season

    Aug 29, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Anthony Davis Anthony Davis

    If he develops a consistent three-point shot, it’s over.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2508)
  2. K. Irving (1970)
  3. L. James (1651)
  4. A. Davis (1581)
  5. K. Bryant (1579)