PAE Celebrates Michael Jordan's 50th Birthday, Roundtable Style

What with today being Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, the Pippen Ain’t Easy staff is celebrating the occasion with our favorite MJ moments from his illustrious career. We hope you enjoy them too.

Joshua Santos: The Flu Game (1997)

My favourite Michael Jordan moment has to be the  flu game. As we know, Jordan had a stomach virus, food poisoning and could barley move. The Jazz, winning games three and four tied the series and were looking to win it all with a Michael Jordan-less Bulls team. Despite this, Jordan, rose (no pun intended) scored 15 points in the quarter, and made the game-winning three-point shot as a double-teamed Scottie Pippen passed to him for beyond the arc. The Bulls won that game 90-88 and went on to win game six, winning the series while Jordan won his fifth championship.

This game definitely stands out the most for me. When Jordan was feeling at his worst, not wanting to move, not wanted to do anything, possibly at his lowest point at that time, he was hungry. Hungry for a fifth championship. Even when he felt at his worst he got out of bed and went to work. Most players would’ve sat out three games with the slightest sign of sickness, but Jordan preserved and went to work. He was hungry for success. He also knew his team need him. Relied on him to pull through but knew that if he had to, he should sit out. They were looking out for him but Jordan went to work.

Jordan could’ve sat in his bed, rest and watch his teammates on the big screen, trying to beat a Utah Jazz team led by Karl Malone and John Stockton. But no, Jordan got up and pulled through.

I feel like everybody can learn a lesson from Jordan’s flu game. Whenever you’re feeling bad, whether its sickness or whether you’re having a bad day, or even feeling bad emotionally/physically, pull through. If you really want something, whatever it is, you will do anything for it. You won’t regret it and if anything, you’ll be feeling great knowing you got better. This is why this is my favourite Jordan moment, because when he was feeling at his worst, he pulled through and preserved.

Sarita Kelly: Space Jam The Flu Game

My favorite Michael Jordan moment is Space Jam, definitely Space Jam. I mean who doesn’t love that movie? It is a cinema classic. How this movie wasn’t nominated for an Oscar is beyond me…. Okay let’s be honest here I do like that movie and stop judging me, but it is not my favorite Michael Jordan moment so deep breaths.

My favorite Michael Jordan moment is Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals or the flu game. Anybody who has ever gotten the flu knows that it is not fun. You feel like you’re going to die. All you want to do is lie in bed and pray to start feeling better soon. But Jordan didn’t let something small like the flu stop him from one hell of a game.

We all know that the series was tied 2-2 and they were in Utah playing against the Jazz. Jordan got sick on a day off and was told by the Chicago Bulls medical personnel that there was no way he was going to play the next day. But leave it to MJ to go ahead and show up at the arena a few hours before the game and play anyways and what a game it was. Jordan scored 38 points and had 5 assists with the flu. One of the most replayed moments from the game wasn’t the game itself but a moment from the very end of it. The Bulls knew they had the game secure sp with seconds left Jordan collapsed into Scotty Pippen’s arms.

Many have said since this game that it really wasn’t the flu. That he was actually hungover but who wants to say that about the great Michael Jordan? Regardless of what you believe this was still a great game. And if he was really was hungover, that makes for even better story.

Seerat Sohi: Game 6, 1998 NBA Finals

Most NBA fans clamour over MJ’s last shot. I, however, would add that entire game into my favourite MJ moment. In Michael’s last game with the Chicago Bulls (Editor’s Note: This was also his last game ever, for the official record) he was stunning. So when the time came for him to give the Bulls a lead in the closing moments of the game, it wasn’t a shock. It was an expectation. The last shot provided a perfect story-book ending to a career that has been marvelled for over a decade since. His last game proved to be a reminder for why we’ve immortalized him.

Ashley Wijangco: The Flu Game

Considering that I am not even 18 years old yet, I cannot remember when Michael Jordan played for the Bulls. Despite that, I have still accustomed myself to becoming familiar with the legacy he created. With that being said, my favorite Jordan moment would have to be The Flu Game. The determination and dedication Jordan portrayed was astonishing. His ability to work through the sickness was inspiring. While he could have easily made excuses as many people do, Jordan would not resort to that. He made it his duty to play the game he loved for a team trying to win their second-straight championship. The Flu Game was a prime example of how any goal could be achieved as long as effort was put into it.

Caleb Nordgren: The Shrug (1992)

When I was younger, I was given two VHS tapes — remember when those were a thing? — with Michael Jordan material on them. On one was his 69-point game against Cleveland in 1990, on the other were Game 5 of the 1991 Finals, the Double Nickel game from 1995, and his last game ever, Game 6 of the 1998 Finals. Oddly, even though my first real exposure to MJ was through those tapes, my favorite moment comes elsewhere in his career; namely, the 1992 NBA Finals.

Things actually started out fairly poorly for the Bulls in that game. People forget this, but Portland was in control early on before Jordan caught fire in the second quarter and Chicago’s defense tightened the screws. It’s an incredible sequence to watch because of how utterly the momentum shifts. One minute, Portland is cruising, the next they’re being run out of the gym. Jordan’s going bonkers, the crowd loves it, and then, after hitting his fifth three of the game, turns to Marv Albert, Mike Fratello and Magic Johnson, sitting courtside, and gives them a shrug and an almost sheepish — for MJ, anyway — grin.

It’s such a great moment because it shows even the greatest player of all time has moments when he just can’t explain what’s happening. He’s just doing things and it’s working out.

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