Never Before Heard Details About Michael Jordan’s ‘Flu Game’ Revealed [Video]
Everybody remembers Michael Jordan’s “flu game,” which was game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals.
Later we would come to find out that it was more likely that it was a case of food poisoning, but MJ struggled during this game against the Utah Jazz.
Dehydrated and lacking some energy, “His Airness” did the unthinkable, scoring 38 points with 5 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block.
The unlikely hero in this game was Preston Truman, a Utah Jazz ballboy who supplied MJ with apple sauce during halftime, and helped give him a bit of energy when he was bottoming out.
Here’s Truman’s recollection, from the Salt Lake City Tribune of the night he was awarded Jordan’s sneakers because of his efforts in helping him win against his hometown team.
“He was one of the first in the building to know that Jordan would play that night when, as Bulls coach Phil Jackson gathered the team to go onto the court, Jordan finally got up and put his jersey on. He watched Jordan struggle back to the bench during timeouts; he ran Jordan a spoon for three small cups of applesauce at halftime; he heard Jordan tell doctors “F— no” when they suggested he sit out for a while.
Truman’s parents would later tease him because the broadcast showed him — a lifelong Jazz fan — patting MJ on the shoulder after he wrapped him in a towel.
When Jordan hit the clinching shot and leaned into Pippen’s arms, barely able to stand, Truman estimates he was 5 feet away.
“I was like ‘I think I’m going to see this again and again.’”
After the game, the shoes were underneath Jordan’s dressing table while Truman went about his work. The ballboy panicked when Charles Barkley stopped by to visit — Bryon Russell had asked for MJ’s shoes earlier in the season, and Gary Payton drew flak in the 1996 Finals for doing the same. But Chuck left without them.
Jordan showered and dressed, and when the equipment manager reached down to pick the shoes up and pack them away, MJ told him to hold it. “Those are his,” he said, pointing to Truman. He later signed both shoes while one of his body guards snapped photos. He then rubbed the top of Truman’s head and left.”
Catch some highlights of the game below.