Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan says food poisoning and not the flu was responsible for him being sick for Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz.

Episode nine of 'The Last Dance' - ESPN's 10-part docuseries on the Bulls team that won the 1997-98 NBA championship to complete a second three-peat in eight years - featured a section on what came to be known as the 'flu game'.

It has been widely believed Jordan had been suffering from flu-like symptoms ahead of the clash in Salt Lake City, but the five-time MVP has provided a different version of events.

"The day before Game 5 in Utah, I'm at the Marriott. It was George [Kohler, personal assistant], myself, Tim [Grover, personal trainer], and I think a couple of security guards. But it's like 10, 10:30 at night, I'm hungry," Jordan explained.

Grover and Koehler managed to find a pizza place that was open and placed an order but were surprised to see five people deliver it.

Jordan continued: "I eat the pizza all by myself, nobody else eats it. I wake up about 2:30, throwing up left and right.

"So really it wasn't the flu game, it was food poisoning."

He added: "I stayed in bed all day, couldn't eat anything, couldn't hold nothing down.

"Phil [Jackson, Bulls coach] comes in and says, 'What do you think?' And I say, 'Look, I'm gonna try, it's Game 5, if anything I can be a decoy.' So I'm going out and I'm gonna play."

Despite suffering from sickness, news of which emerged in the media before tip-off, Jordan scored 38 points to lead the Bulls to a 90-88 victory and a 3-2 series lead.

Jordan also had seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block in a display that remains one of the most iconic in the history of the league.

The 1997-98 Chicago Bulls could win championships "in any era" and would stack up well against today's Los Angeles Lakers or Milwaukee Bucks, Rusty LaRue has said.

ESPN's 'The Last Dance' - a 10-part docuseries on the Bulls team that won a sixth championship in eight years in 1998 – has now concluded after reporting huge ratings across the past five weeks.

Throughout most of the 1990s, no team could stop Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman as the Bulls became one of the most dominant outfits in sport.

The NBA has changed significantly, though, with three-point specialist Stephen Curry spearheading the Golden State Warriors' run to the previous five NBA Finals.

However, LaRue, a rookie point guard with the 1997-98 Bulls, is adamant the Chicago team he was on would be able to mix it up with Curry, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

"I certainly think that team is going to be competing for the championship, probably win it," LaRue told Stats Perform.

"The one thing that you can't forget is the Bulls were a little ahead of their time.

"While they weren't necessarily the three-point barrage teams of today, the multi-position guys were basically big guards who could play all over the court - that was their roster.

"You had Steve Kerr who was a normal-sized guard but Jordan's 6ft 6ins, Pippen's 6ft 8ins, [Toni] Kukoc's 6ft 10ins, Ron Harper was 6ft 6ins.

"Those guys could guard multiple positions, play multiple positions. I think that lends itself well to today's game where you go out and you have multi-faceted people.

"Pippen could guard about any position on the court, so could Dennis Rodman, Jordan pretty much could, so I certainly think that team would be at the top of the echelon and probably be winning consistent championships in any era."

The Lakers are the only team to have three-peated since the Bulls, with former Chicago coach Phil Jackson leading them to a trio of championships between 2000 and 2002.

Golden State's bid for three Larry O'Brien Trophies in a row was dashed by the Toronto Raptors last year.

However, the 2015-16 Warriors team broke the 1995-96 Bulls' record for most regular-season victories when they went 73-9.

A pair of signed sneakers worn by the legendary Michael Jordan during his stellar career were sold for a record $560,000 at auction on Sunday.

Jordan's Nike footwear were estimated to fetch a quarter of what they went for, Sotheby's revealed.

The Air Jordan 1s were designed for the Chicago Bulls great in 1985 before he went on to be named NBA MVP five times.

A pair of 1972 Nike running shoes known as the 'Moon Shoe' previously held the record for sneakers sold by Sotheby's last year, with $437,500 forked out on that occasion.

Jordan has been in the headlines recently with the huge success of documentary 'The Last Dance.'

Sotheby's director of eCommerce development Brahm Wachter said: "We saw tremendous bidding up until the moment the sale closed, with the value more than doubling in the final hour alone.

"That coupled with strong international bidding from six countries on four continents shows not only the incredible appeal of Michael Jordan... but also that sneaker collecting is truly a global and growing market."

It is 60 years to the day since Real Madrid hammered Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 to win the European Cup and there was a high five for Michael Jordan on May 18, 1998.

Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas were the heroes as Madrid tore Eintracht apart at Hampden Park to lift the famous trophy for the fifth consecutive season.

The legendary Jordan won his fifth and final NBA MVP award 22 years ago.

Milan fans and pitcher Randy Johnson can also reflect on this day with fond memories.

 

1960 - Madrid maul Eintracht 

Di Stefano and Puskas put on a show as Madrid put Eintracht to the sword in Glasgow.

A packed crowd of 127,000 were treated to one of the great performances, with the Spanish giants remaining kings of Europe after going behind to a goal from Richard Kress.

Di Stefano put Madrid in front with a quickfire first-half double and Eintracht were torn to pieces in devastating fashion after the break.

Hungary great Puskas struck three times in the space of 15 minutes and the magnificent Di Stefano completed his treble to put Madrid 7-1 up before Erwin Stein bagged a brace for the shocked German side.

 

1998 - High five for Jordan 

Jordan was rewarded for yet another outstanding season when he was named the best player in the NBA yet again in 1998.

The superstar led the way as the Chicago Bulls won a third consecutive title and a sixth in an eight-year period, beating the Utah Jazz to retain their crown.

Jordan was aged 35 when he landed his fifth and final NBA MVP gong and went on to be named Finals MVP.

He scored an average of 28.7 points per game, with an average of 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists, stepping up time and again with inspirational performances and a huge on-court presence

 

1994 - Ruthless Milan batter Barca

Milan retained their Champions League title in emphatic fashion at the Olympic Stadium in Athens 26 years ago to the day.

Barca were unable to live with Fabio Capello's side, who were in a class of their own despite being without some key men.

Marco van Basten and Gianluigi Lentini - the world's most expensive player at the time - were ruled out due to injury, while captain Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta missed out due to suspension.

That mattered not for masterful Milan, Daniele Massaro scoring a first-half brace and Dejan Savicevic on target with an exquisite lob before Marcel Desailly added insult to injury with a fine finish.

 

2004 - Age no barrier for 'Big Unit' Johnson

Randy Johnson made history when he became the oldest player to pitch a perfect game in the MLB 16 years ago.

Johnson was 40 when he achieved the magnificent feat in the Arizona Diamondbacks' victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The veteran's second career no-hitter came at Turner Field, breaking a record that Cy Young set when he was aged 37.

Johnson's perfect game was the 17th in baseball history.

The cause of death for all nine victims of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna has been ruled as blunt trauma, a post-mortem has confirmed.

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-coroner on Friday published the results from examinations of those who lost their lives in the incident in Calabasas, California on January 26.

The crash occurred amid heavy fog but an investigation into the cause is ongoing.

A statement read: "On January 28, the cause of death for all nine decedents was certified as blunt trauma. The manner of death was certified as accident."

Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan were on board with the Bryants.

A 180-page report also showed that Zobayan tested negative for drugs and alcohol.

Bryant was a five-time NBA champion during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He was named the league's MVP in 2008, was selected for the All-Star Game on 18 occasions and received All-NBA First Team honours on 11 occasions.

The two-time Olympic gold medallist's jersey numbers of eight and 24 were retired by the Lakers following his death aged 41.

Michael Jordan's name is synonymous with the Chicago Bulls and the NBA, and May 16, 2020 represents the 35th anniversary of him being named Rookie of the Year.

A stunning first season in the league saw a prolific Jordan turn the struggling Bulls' fortunes around and guide them to the playoffs.

He went on to lead the Bulls to six championships, be named the NBA MVP on five occasions, win Defensive Player of the Year in 1988, earn 14 selections to the All-Star Game and gain All-NBA First Team honours on 10 occasions.

Using Stats Perform data, we look back at Jordan's incredible rookie campaign.

Happy 35th anniversary

Since 1963-64, no rookie has had more 35-point games than Jordan's 20. Three of those displays – a loss at the Milwaukee Bucks, a home win against the Denver Nuggets and a road defeat against the Cleveland Cavaliers – saw him score exactly 35 points. In the first 35 games of his NBA career Jordan scored a total of 918 points; Elvin Hayes is the only rookie since 1963-64 with more (1,052).

Among the all-time greats

Jordan averaged 28.2 points in his first season in the league. The only Rookie of the Year winners with a superior points per game are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (28.8), Oscar Robertson (30.5), Walt Bellamy (31.6) and Wilt Chamberlain (37.6). The only other first-year players to outperform Jordan in this regard are George Mikan (28.3), who played before the accolade was introduced, and Hayes (28.4), who was beaten to the award by Wes Unseld in 1969.

A force going both ways

Jordan also averaged 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.39 steals in 1984-85. No other player had at least 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals per game in the league that season. It was the first of seven campaigns in which he put up those numbers; the rest of the NBA has just 12 combined since steals were first tracked in 1973-74, with Rick Barry and Clyde Drexler (both two) the only players to do it more than once.

Incredibly prolific

Opponents were only able to keep Jordan below 20 points in nine of his 82 games in 1984-85 and six of those came before Christmas during a 1-8 run for the Bulls. It is the joint-fewest by any rookie with at least 10 appearances since 1963-64 (Abdul-Jabbar, also nine).

Unmatched in the modern era

In that same period, Hayes (35) is the only rookie to have had more 30-point games than Jordan's 33, while the Bulls legend's seven 40-point games is second to Abdul-Jabbar (9). Since 1984-85, just three players - Allen Iverson (5), Donovan Mitchell (2) and Blake Griffin (2) - have had multiple 40-point games.

Getting to the line

Over a quarter of Jordan's points in his rookie campaign came from the free-throw line. He made 630 shots from the stripe, with Robertson (653) the only first-year player to enjoy greater success.

It is 35 years since Michael Jordan was named NBA Rookie of the Year and England claimed an elusive first major one-day trophy on this day a decade ago.

Jordan has been in the headlines with "The Last Dance" documentary going down a storm 35 years after he was named best rookie in the league.

May 16 was also a day England cricket lovers can reflect on with great memories, having beaten fierce rivals Australia to win the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 final in Bridgetown, Barbados.

It has also been a day of great significance for former Italy striker Roberto Baggio.

 

1985 - A sign of things to come from magnificent Jordan 

Making the step up to the NBA was no problem for Jordan, who lit the league up in his rookie season.

He finished third in the scoring charts and fourth with his tally of steals, steering the Chicago Bulls into the playoffs for the first time in four years.

In the first 35 games of his NBA career Jordan scored a total of 918 points; Elvin Hayes is the only rookie since 1963-64 with more (1,052).

Jordan averaged 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.39 steals in his debut season, so there was really only going to be one man landing the gong. 

 

2004 - Please don't go, Baggio 

It was on this day 16 years ago that the classy Baggio played the last match of his magnificent career.

The majestic playmaker was unable to celebrate a fitting winning finale, his Brescia side losing 4-2 at Milan.

A packed San Siro gave the ex-Italy maestro an emotional send-off, though, rising to give Baggio a standing ovation when he was substituted late on.

Both sets of players also stopped to applaud the 37-year-old, who had been among the best players in the world when in his prime.

 

2010 - England conquer in the Caribbean

It was England's day at the Kensington Oval, where they won the third edition of the men's T20 World Cup by seven wickets.

Australia posted 147-6 after Paul Collingwood put them in, Ryan Sidebottom taking 2-26 and David Hussey top scoring with 59.

England cruised to victory following a blistering second-wicket stand of 111 between Craig Kieswetter and Kevin Pietersen. 

Kieswetter was named man of the match after smashing 63 from 49 balls, with Pietersen's swashbuckling 47 coming off just 31 deliveries before Collingwood and Eoin Morgan put Australia out of their misery.

National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul said players were eager to return when it is safe to do so.

The NBA season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 308,000 people worldwide.

The United States has been hardest hit by COVID-19, recording more than 1.4 million cases with a death toll exceeding 88,000.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Paul said players were eager to return to action, telling ESPN on Friday: "Obviously we want to play.

"Oh man, we want to play. We want to play bad. I think that's the consensus among the guys around the league.

"We want it to be obviously as safe as possible, but the biggest thing is, we miss the game."

Paul said it was up to players and officials to work out a plan if they are to get back underway amid the risk.

"What is normal now? So I think that's what we're trying to figure out, what it looks like, so until we find those answers and we can come up with an actual plan, right now it's basically sit and wait," he said.

"The virus is in control."

Arsenal completed a remarkable feat on May 15, 2004.

It is the day that Gunners vintage of 16 years ago secured its 'Invincibles' tag, finishing the Premier League campaign unbeaten.

Real Madrid – inspired by Zinedine ZIdane – and Manchester United also have happy memories of this mid-May date, each sealing continental silverware in 2002 and 1991 respectively.

And in the NBA, Allen Iverson claimed a significant personal honour 19 years ago.

Here are the sporting highlights from this day in history...

 

2004 – Arsenal become the 'Invincibles' 

Having clinched the title on enemy soil by drawing at Tottenham in late April, Arsene Wenger's men reached the last day still boasting an unblemished top-flight record.

Leicester City were the visitors to Highbury, seeking to become the ultimate party poopers. 

When Paul Dickov put the Foxes ahead, there was a genuine fear the hosts would fall at the final hurdle.

Thierry Henry levelled from the penalty spot and Patrick Vieira secure the win as Arsenal rounded off an unbeaten Premier League campaign.

2002 – Zidane's brilliance leads Real Madrid to glory

Zidane took centre stage when Glasgow's Hampden Park played host to the Champions League final on this day in 2002.

The Frenchman's stunning volley from just inside the box proved to be the winning goal in a 2-1 Madrid triumph over Bayer Leverkusen.

When Roberto Carlos hooked a hopeful ball into the area, Zidane positioned himself underneath it and expertly thrashed home a sweet left-footed strike.

Zidane's stunning finish is regarded as one of the all-time great Champions League goals.

 

2001 – Iverson is named NBA MVP 

Iverson followed in the footsteps of a bona fide legend with the figures he posted to win the NBA MVP in 2001.

He led the NBA in scoring (31.1 points per game) and steals (2.51 per game), becoming the first man to top both charts since Michael Jordan in 1992-93.

It made the vote a straightforward affair, the Philadelphia 76ers star receiving 93 of a possible 124 first-place votes to finish ahead of the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan and Los Angeles Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal.

In doing so, Iverson became the first 76ers player to be crowned MVP since 1983, when Moses Malone achieved the feat.

 

1991 – Man Utd down Barcelona in European Cup Winners' Cup final

Mark Hughes scored twice in Rotterdam as Manchester United beat Barcelona 2-1 to win European silverware for the first time in 23 years.

Not since the club's 1968 European Cup success had United triumphed in a continental competition.

This was a first foray back into such tournaments for English clubs since the ban that come into force following the Heysel disaster.

Ronald Koeman scored Barca's consolation goal as Alex Ferguson got one over on opposite number Johan Cruyff.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson wants to see the NBA playoffs take place following the coronavirus outbreak.

The 2019-20 NBA campaign has been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc globally – pushing the Olympic Games and Euro 2020 back a year.

At the time of postponement, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) owned the best record in the league, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), the Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers (44-20).

It remains to be seen when, and if, the season will resume but Thompson said on Thursday: "Guys want to play."

The Cavaliers are an Eastern Conference-worst 19-46 and will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season.  

Thompson, who is eligible for free agency after this season, was on a conference call last week with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and one of his biggest takeaways was that players – especially the ones with a chance to win a title – are eager to get back on the court as soon as possible. 

"They're trying to win a championship, so I understand where they're coming from and they know everybody wants to see basketball," Thompson – a 2016 NBA champion with the Cavaliers – said from Los Angeles.  

"Everybody wants to watch the playoffs. I want to watch the playoffs, with my friends, you know cheering and going crazy.

"But the main concern is just how do we do it in a way where everyone's at peace when they go to work."

With uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA announced on Wednesday that it will indefinitely push back its deadline for early entrants to the NBA Draft to withdraw and retain eligibility as student-athletes.

The initial deadline was June 3, and the NCAA plans to solidify a new date when the NBA finalises an outline for the 2020 pre-draft process.

The NBA announced on May 1 that it was postponing the draft lottery and combine, both set for May in Chicago. In the past, NCAA athletes had 10 days after the combine to withdraw their name from draft consideration to return to school.

"This modification is being made with the health and wellbeing of our student-athletes in mind, along with their ability to make the most informed decisions during this uncertain time," NCAA senior vice-president of basketball Dave Gavitt said in a statement.

The league has not yet voted on delaying the NBA Draft, set for June 25.

Florida followed in the footsteps of Arizona by announcing it is open to professional sports teams amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Arizona governor Doug Ducey opened the door for sport to return to the state without fans on Saturday following the COVID-19 outbreak, which has wreaked havoc globally.

The NBA, NHL and MLS seasons have been postponed, while the start of the 2020 MLB campaign has been delayed.

But Florida's Ron DeSantis became the second governor to clear the way for sport to resume on Wednesday.

"All these professional sports are going to be welcomed in Florida," DeSantis said in a news conference midweek. "That may not be the case in every other state in this country, as we've seen.

"So what I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won't let them operate, we'll find a place for you here in the state of Florida. Because we think it's important and we know that it can be done safely."

The United States has been the hardest country hit, with more than 1.4 million confirmed cases and over 85,000 deaths.

Last week's UFC 249 event was held behind closed doors in Jacksonville, Florida, while WrestleMania 36 took place in Orlando.

"Our people are starved to have some of this back in their lives," DeSantis said Wednesday. "It's an important part of people's lives."

The Diamondbacks welcomed Arizona's announcement that professional sport can resume in the state without fans on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, suspending the NBA and NHL seasons, while delaying the start of the 2020 MLB campaign.

The United States has been the hardest country hit, with more than 1.4 million confirmed cases and over 83,400 deaths.

But on Tuesday, Arizona governor Doug Ducey opened the door for sport to return to the state, albeit behind closed doors.

"We have had discussions with leaders with some of these leagues, and they all know they are welcome to operate, play and perform in the state of Arizona," Ducey said.

"It would be, at this point in time, according to the CDC guidelines, without fans. We could do that safely in the state of Arizona beginning May 16."

In a boost for MLB franchise the Diamondbacks, president Derrick Hall said in a statement: "I was pleased to hear the governor's comments on the state's willingness to allow sporting events in a controlled environment.

"We have been in constant communication and he has consistently shown cooperation and support to us and league leadership. Both he and I have made it clear we are more than willing to be part of a solution if there is a need for us to host more teams or games."

In a statement to the Arizona Republic, NFL team the Arizona Cardinals said: "We would still need the NFL to green-light the return to team facilities and resume activities."

Meanwhile, the NHL's Arizona Coyotes said: "We are aware of governor Ducey's announcement and will await direction from the NHL."

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. said it is important for the NBA to crown a champion this season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2019-20 NBA campaign has been postponed since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has wreaked havoc globally – pushing the Olympic Games and Euro 2020 back a year.

At the time of postponement, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) owned the best record in the league, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), the Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers (44-20).

It remains to be seen when, and if, the season will resume but Nance believes those players vying for a championship ring should have the chance to try to etch their names in the history books.

"We're not in position to win a championship this year, but if I was – if I was Giannis, if I was LeBron, if I was Kawhi – if I was on one of those championship-calibre teams, I'd be pretty upset about it," Nance said via a conference call on Tuesday.

"Because it's very rare in this league that a chance like this comes along, and that's taken a valuable year off someone's career."

Nance and the Cavaliers are not in the playoff picture due to their 19-46 record in the Eastern Conference.

The 27-year-old Nance was traded to the Cavs by the Lakers in 2018 to team up with James in Cleveland as the franchise reached the NBA Finals, losing to the Golden State Warriors that season.

Mark Cuban will only reopen the Dallas Mavericks' facility when his players can be tested as frequently as White House officials are.

The NBA was suspended in dramatic fashion back in March when it emerged Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for coronavirus.

At the time, the Mavericks were playing the Denver Nuggets, and Cuban learned of the suspension while sat courtside during the game, with his stunned reaction going viral.

However, the NBA is now considering plans to restart the 2019-20 regular season, which was close to a conclusion, with a report on Tuesday suggesting players will be polled for their views.

The NBA has permitted practice facilities to reopen, provided they operate in states that have relaxed stay-at-home rulings, yet Cuban has insisted the Mavs' complex will remain closed regardless of directives from Texas officials.

To reopen it, Dallas' owner wants his players to have access to the level of testing US president Donald Trump and his senior advisors are afforded.

"I'll use the White House protocol," Cuban told The Athletic.

"The way the White House protects the president and vice-president is the way that I want to protect our players and employees, you know?

"We'll just try to just copy what they do as a means of knowing when the time is right. As of now, for all we know, for all we've been informed, anyways, they're testing everybody. And they test their top people on a daily basis.

"And so they have access to the best science, the best information, and so it just makes sense to me that we just copy them."

Asked whether he was optimistic if such testing would be available "in a month, two months", Cuban added: "Yes, absolutely.

"I just trust American exceptionalism, entrepreneurialism spirit and capitalism. You know, we'll figure out a way because we have to."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.