There are some moments that are so special that upon observing them, one knows that they are witnessing history being made right before their very eyes. In the world of sports, fans regularly see outstanding individual and team efforts, however it is not often that we are blessed with the opportunity to experience a feat so magnificent that it can only be labeled as legendary. As rare as these events are among typical athletes, Michael Jordan made a career out of groundbreaking performances and constantly keeping both Bulls fans and haters alike on the edge of the seats wondering “how will he wow us next?” Of all of MJ’s milestones, arguably his most memorable moment came in what is now known as the “Flu Game,” an instant classic in which his feet were graced with the Air Jordan XII’s.
Wednesday, June 11, 1997 (NBA Finals, Game 4) – 4:30 p.m.: Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen sees teammate Michael Jordan emerge from a side door of Utah’s Delta Center. “The way he looked, there’s no way I thought he could even put on his uniform,” Pippen would say. “I’d never seen him like that. He looked bad — I mean really bad.” Team doctors and everyone close to the Bulls organization echoed Pippen’s assessment, saying there was just no chance of Jordan taking the court that night. Even if Michael stepped onto the hardwood, he would just be a decoy and could not legitimately compete while battling the nasty effects of a stomach flu. Jordan, as he has a habit of doing, decided to prove the world wrong and the rest was history.
Although he was essentially useless in the first quarter, Jordan turned it on in the second, after Utah took a 16-point lead. MJ seemed to transform physically, emotionally and mentally as he began running harder, running faster and making shots. Somehow, miraculously, he began looking like the typically dominant Michael Jordan and scored 17 points in the quarter. Fighting fatigue and nausea throughout for the entire night, Jordan survived off fluids and cold towels and played 23 of 24 minutes in the first half and 21 of 24 minutes in the second. At the end of the game he found himself in his usual spot atop the box score with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and a block, but only one result matters to MJ – the Bulls won and took a 3-2 series lead. As the final buzzer sounded, Jordan doubled over, collapsing from emotion and exhaustion into Pippen’s arms.
Now that you have the unabridged history of the Flu Game, why not pay homage to Jordan’s magical night by wearing the same kicks he wore as he worked over the Jazz? These epic sneakers feature simply colorways with a black suede upper body and a red embossed leather covered toe box marked with the Jumpman text on the panel. Perhaps the sleekest feature on the Jordan XII’s is the “97 38” stitching on the tongue that represents the 1997 NBA Finals and the 38 points MJ dropped. These retro gems can be purchased for $200 at Osneaker.com; don’t pass up your chance to own a piece of basketball history.