Jordan Flu Game vs. Isiah Thomas Ankle Game – Which Was More Impressive?
It was game six of the 1988 NBA Finals and the Detroit Pistons were one game away from winning the title.
Down 56-48 in the start of the third, Isiah Thomas started to go off, scoring 14 straight points. But on an assist to a streaking Joe Dumars, Thomas landed awkwardly on Michael Cooper‘s foot and rolled his ankle.
After leaving the game briefly, Thomas decided to come back into the game.
“When I sprained my ankle, I was so angry because all of the hard work I had put in, all the dedication, I remember laying on the floor seeing my dream slip through my hands. If you’re not strong enough mentally to overcome, and you cant persevere, you’ll fall and be like everybody else in the league.”
By the end of the quarter, he had hit 11 of 13 shots from the floor for 25 points, setting an NBA Finals record for points in a quarter.
He single-handedly gave his team an 81-79 lead.
He finished the night with a jammed left pinkie, a poked eye, a scratched face, a ballooned ankle, 43 points, 8 assists, and 6 steals.
Here’s a condensed version of Isiah Thomas ankle game:
The Jordan Flu Game:
Per Jordan’s former trainer Tim Grover, the Michael Jordan Flu Game against the Jazz in game 5 of the 1997 Finals was the result of Jordan eating a pizza that had been laced with something and not just symptoms from the common flu.
“He was poisoned for the ‘flu game.’ Everyone called it the flu game, but we sat there. We were in the room.”
Jordan was sitting his his hotel room and got hungry, but couldn’t find anywhere to eat. Grover said at the time, the hotel where they were staying was one of few in Park City, so people knew where they were.
When they ordered the pizza, five people came to the door to deliver it and Grover’s gut feeling said something wasn’t right.
“I take the pizza and tell them: ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this … I’ve just got a bad feeling about this,'” Grover said, recounting the night.
At around 2 a.m. Jordan called Grover to his room and he immediately said it was poisoning, not the flu.
The Jazz had just won Games 3 & 4 to tie the series at 2 wins apiece. The Bulls’ trainers told Jordan that there was no way he could play the next day.
Jordan finished with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 1 block, including a clutch three point shot with 25 seconds left to give the Bulls the victory.
That shot created the unforgettable image of Scottie Pippen helping a visibly weakened Jordan to the bench.
Which performance do you have more respect for – Isiah’s Ankle Game or Jordan’s “Flu Game?