This could honestly be number one. Let me put it into perspective for you readers who think he played with a cold. People die, everyday from the flu. While yes of course advances in medicine have basically ruled out death unless you don’t take any medication, it is still a deadly disease in which someone should stay in bed, drink plenty of fluids and sleep. Of course when Michael had the flu, he wished he stayed in bed, but he had a game to play, a game that would end up proving crucial in the series.
Battling a 103 degree fever, this was no “mom I don’t feel good, call me in sick for school today” sickness. This was more of “get him to the hospital” sick, but the true competitor and winner he was and still is, Michael showed up in Utah for Game 5 of the NBA Finals and played through it, a hard game to watch. It was pure poetry and grace, yet it was sad to watch because MJ was putting his body on the line. He could have passed out at mid-court before the tip, going up for a rebound and hit the deck unconscious.
Jordan looked weak, pale and exhausted. Malone and Stockton didn’t care, they wanted a championship, sick Jordan or not. The Jazz hoped out to a 16 point lead in the second behind a rockous crowd, surely Game 5 and the series was going towards the Jazz’s way. But Michael, despite his state, found a way to score 17 points in the quarter to cut the lead. But Michael expended so much energy that he couldn’t play too much in the 3rd, and once again the Bulls were down. But Michael was used to owning the 4th, this time he would have to do it against all odds. He scored 15 points in the fourth and hit the games most critical shots. With 25 seconds left, Pippen had the ball and was doubled teamed, leaving Michael open who drained a three and put Chicago ahead 88-85. The most memorable image of those Finals was exhausted Michael fell into the arms of Scottie Pippen who carried him to the bench. The picture symbolizes so much, but none more so than team. Because even though Jordan played 44 minutes, scored 38 points, grabbed 7 boards and 5 assists, they don’t win those championships without a little help from his friends.