Once LeBron James left last night’s game due to cramps, of course the jokes started flying on social media because that is par for the course now. One of the more persistent jokes was about how Michael Jordan played with the flu, he would have never come out of a game for cramps, etc, etc. Well thanks to Roland Lazenby’s “Michael Jordan: The Life”, we know that Jordan did in fact come out of Game 4 of the 1997 Finals due to stomach cramps:
It would later be learned that a Bulls team assistant had mistakenly replaced the players’ Gatorade with GatorLode, a heavy drink used for building carbs. “It was like eating baked potatoes,” explained trainer Chip Schaeffer. Down the stretch, Chicago’s players complained of stomach cramps and Jordan even asked to sit for a time, something he never did at a key moment.
So while Jordan is viewed as the most mentally tough player we have ever seen, keep in mind that His Airness also exited a Finals game because of a circumstance he couldn’t control that led to cramps. I even checked out the box score for you guys:
So you can see that even after Jordan drank “tainted” Gatorade, he played 42 minutes to James 33 minutes. They actually had similar numbers in the game too even though LeBron still shot 52% last night and led all scorers.
With all that being said, it’s really hard to compare all this and people are reaching when they say Jordan would never leave a game or ever missed a shot.