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“Better Flu Game? AR Or Michael Jordan?”: LeBron James Has Austin Reaves’ 22 Point First Half Up There With MJ’s Iconic Game 5

Samir Mehdi

"Better Flu Game? AR Or Michael Jordan?": LeBron James Has Austin Reaves' 22 Point First Half Up There With MJ's Iconic Game 5

LeBron James may have won the MVP for the In-Season Tournament as a whole but he wouldn’t have won the final game against the Indiana Pacers without Austin Reaves and Anthony Davis. The former in particular set the tone for the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half with 22 points and finished with 28 points on 9/15 shooting from the field. To make his performance even more impressive, it was reported prior to the game that AR-15 was expressing flu-like symptoms.

Despite battling the flu/ non-COVID illness, Reaves outplayed quite nearly every player on the Pacers. Following the end of the game, LeBron couldn’t contain his excitement over the win and the man who led the first half charge for them as he would go on to compare Reaves’s game to Michael Jordan’s iconic ‘Flu Game’ from the 1997 NBA Finals in Game 5.

“Who had the better flu game: AR or MJ [Michael Jordan]? It’s up for debate!”

This of course, is a rhetorical question. Comparing Reaves’s performance tonight to what Michael Jordan did in a crucial NBA Finals game that ultimately led to the Bulls winning an NBA Championship is simply not something James or anybody of sound mind would do.

Michael Jordan’s flu game was like no other

With the release of the Last Dance docuseries, it has become apparent that a local Utah pizzeria was responsible for Michael Jordan’s flu game in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Whether the pizzeria had nefarious intentions behind this or not, is something that will never 100% be proven.

Battling bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, MJ woke up at 5:30pm to head to the Delta Center to play in a game that was starting just 90 minutes after. He missed warmups and clearly looked out of it.

Jordan took center stage for that Game 5 and dropped 38 points while struggling with intense flu-like symptoms that reportedly had him awake nearly the entire night. With the series tied at 2 a piece prior to the 90-88 Game 5 victory, it was imperative that MJ suit up that night.

It all worked out in the end for the Chicago Bulls that series as they would win Game 6 as well and go on to make themselves 5x champions, not knowing that they’d win yet again the following year against the same team in the same number of games.

About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi


Samir Mehdi is a senior strategist for the NBA division at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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