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June 11, 1997 It was the worst of days, it was the best of nights for Jordan.
On the day of Game 5, with the NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz tied at two games apiece, Jordan was not throwing up jumpers, but throwing up. A slight case of food poisoning compounded by flu like symptoms had him rushing to only one place the bathroom in his Salt Lake City hotel.
At game time, Jordan’s eyes were glazed, his forehead was burning and he was dehydrated. “I didn’t even think he would be able to put his uniform on,” teammate Scottie Pippen said.
Once Superman put on his cape, neither the viral illness nor the Jazz could stop him. At the end,
when he was most tired and looking like death, he stuck a dagger into the Jazz’s championship hopes.
With the Bulls trailing 85 84 with 47 seconds left, Jordan made a game tying free throw and then swooped in for the rebound after missing the second foul shot. With 25 seconds remaining, he nailed the winning shot, a three pointer to give the Bulls the lead for good in their riveting 90 88 victory.
Shooting 13 of 27 from the field, Jordan finished with 38 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, in 44 minutes. He also had seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.
As it turned out, a sick Jordan is still Jordan the best there ever was with a basketball in his hands.
Away from the basketball court,
Jordan says he was the laziest of the five children in his family.
Jordan’s paternal grandfather was a tobacco sharecropper in North Carolina.
Jordan’s signature the tongue protruding from his mouth came as a result of watching his father James making the same gesture while working on the family car. He fired a two hitter but lost 1 0 in the Eastern Regional final.
In Jordan’s two varsity seasons at Laney High School, his teams went 13 10 and 19 4. An upset in the regional tournament ended Jordan’s senior year.
In the 1981 82 North Carolina media guide, Jordan was introduced as “Mike Jordan.” His post school ambition was to play professional basketball; he most admired Magic Johnson and former Tar Heel Walter Davis; and, already enamored with flying, the movies he most enjoyed included “Superman” and “Superman II.”
How’s this for roommates? While attending North Carolina, Jordan at one time lived with three other future pro athletes, NBA center Brad Daugherty, shortstop Walt Weiss and golfer Davis Love III.
In his three seasons as a Tar Heel,
Jordan averaged 17.7 points. in geography.
The average American male’s percentage of body fat is 15 20%. The average professional athlete’s is 7 8%. Jordan’s body fat was measured at 4%.
On April 20, 1986, Jordan set the NBA playoff record for most points in a game with 63 in a double overtime loss to Boston, 135 131. After the game, Larry Bird said, “That was God disguised as Michael Jordan.”
For three straight seasons (1986 87 through 1988 89), Jordan led the NBA in minutes played.
Jordan is the only shooting guard to average eight rebounds and eight assists in a season. He accomplished this in 1988 89, when he led the NBA in scoring by averaging 32.5 points.
Before Jordan signed with Nike, he actually preferred adidas. Nike persuaded him to change his allegiance to the tune of roughly $1 million annually for five years.
When Nike was originally courting Jordan, company executives showed him a sketch of red sneakers. Michael responded,
“I can’t wear that shoe. Those are the devil’s colors.”
In the first year alone Nike’s Air Jordans grossed an astronomical $130 million.
During the gold medal presentation at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Jordan draped an American flag over the Reebok logo on his uniform to avoid controversy with his sponsor Nike.
Through 1998, it has been estimated that Jordan has made close to $130 million from Nike.
In 1991 a portion of Interstate 40 that runs to Wilmington was named for Jordan.
When Jordan was asked about the different styles between his college coach, Dean Smith, and his 1984 Olympics coach, Bobby Knight, he said that Coach Smith employed the four corner offense and Coach Knight employed four letter words.
Jordan holds the NBA Finals record for most points per game in a series, averaging 41 against the Phoenix Suns in 1993.
When Chicago assistant coach Tex Winter told Jordan, “There’s no ‘I’ in the word team,” the Bulls star shot back,
“There is in the word win.”