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. 67RIEFNS No. 22: Disappointing second-year players looking for redemption

    Oct 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    2013 NBA Draft Lottery 2013 NBA Draft Lottery

    Anthony Bennett, Otto Porter, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, C.J. McCollum among those looking to bounce back after underwhelming rookie years

  2. Joakim Noah wants Tom Thibodeau to do yoga with him

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptq2njewnzjmmgrhmwvjyjm2mtnjzju3ymqwzgm4zmmy AP

    Tom Thibodeau is not the yoga type.

  3. Cavs coach David Blatt will treat Monday’s preseason minutes like the regular season

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    LeBron James LeBron James

    LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will take the floor together for the first time since the preseason opener.

  4. NBA’s 44-minute game clocks in at under two hours, players barely notice

    Oct 19, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT

    NETS V CELTICS NETS V CELTICS

    Experimental preseason game between Nets and Celtics took place Sunday.

  5. Nets coach Hollins on 44-minute game: ‘The change will be for the guys who don’t start’

    Oct 19, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Sacramento Kings - NBA Global Games Beijing Getty Images

    Hollins won’t adjust starters minutes as he coaches the Nets during the experimental game Sunday.

  6. Gloria James narrates LeBron’s latest Beats commercial

    Oct 19, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    LeBron James LeBron James

    “Akron” celebrates James’ homecoming.

  7. Carmelo Anthony on fewer back-to-backs: “That’s the dream”

    Oct 19, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v New York Knicks Getty Images

    The Knicks star says the biggest issue for players is the amount of consecutive games they play.

  8. Carmelo Anthony doesn’t think he’ll win scoring title playing in Knicks’ Triangle Offense

    Oct 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    Anthony should have more help than in the recent past, but he’ll need to score plenty in order for his team to have a shot.

  9. Hakeem Olajuwon: Dwight Howard ‘ready’ for MVP-type season

    Oct 18, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks

    Olajuwon is employed by the Rockets, and has been working with Howard the last two summers.

Featured video

What are impacts of NBA's new TV deal?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. B. Beal (3601)
  2. L. James (3481)
  3. D. Rose (3466)
  4. J. Lin (3350)
  5. N. Noel (3241)