You can take the boy out of Chicago, but...something like that. Out of the corner of my eye, I still follow the Bulls in the NBA. Sports team allegiances are irrational and silly, but they sure maximize one's emotional return from a sport.
Four recent Bulls links that caught my eye:
- Jalen Rose was rumored to have partied with some college students at the University of Indiana while there for ESPN's College Gameday, and one of the things he let slip while holding court was that he thought Michael Jordan was hungover and not sick with the flu in the famous flu game against the Jazz in the 1997 NBA Finals. Rose hinted as much on Bill Simmons podcast when asked about the flu game. In cryptic fashion, he implied what he was rumored to have said to those IU students.
- Nate Robinson has the highest PER on the Bulls this year. NATE ROBINSON. Defense has never been the Bulls issue under Thibodeau, it's good to see him recognize that at times he'll have to lose a bit on the defensive end to help the often stagnant offense.
- Zach Lowe, my favorite basketball analyst going right now, dissects how Chicago is winning this year despite missing Derrick Rose all season.
- Also from Zach Lowe, a profile of the Bulls' surprising breakout utility player Jimmy Butler, who has been receiving Twitter love from Bulls fan and former Senior Advisor to Barack Obama David Axelrod.
On the Jordan flu game, I have serious doubts as to Jalen Rose's claim that MJ was hung over. Granted, I'm biased. I watched the epic flu game from a hotel room in New York City where I was on a work assignment, and I can still recall jumping up and down and screaming on the hotel bed when Jordan hit that last 3-pointer and then collapsed into Scottie Pippen's arms.
I have no evidence one way or the other, but neither does Rose as far as I've read. My case goes like this. If Jordan was hungover, the team doctors would have given him an IV. I know enough doctors to have heard that if you're ever hungover and need to recover almost immediately, an IV will clean up your bloodstream with miraculous speed. Given the importance of that game, there's no way Jordan and the team doctors would have forgone so simple a remedy.
Secondly, it was widely reported that Jordan was ill two days before Game 5. According to multiple sources including this ESPN article, n the middle of the night two days before Game 5:
He remembers waking up in the middle of the night, sweating profusely, shaking, and feeling as if he was going to die. "I was scared; I didn't know what was happening to me," Michael Jordan would say.
At first, he thought it was a nightmare. Then he realized it was real, that he was seriously ill. "I felt partially paralyzed," he would later say.
When he lifted himself up from his bed in his Utah hotel room, his head began spinning. He'd never been so nauseated before. He feared that somehow, some way, someone had slipped some kind of drug in something he ate.
It was the middle of the night in Salt Lake City, an off day between Games 4 and 5. The series was tied, 2-2, following Utah's second consecutive win, but how in the world could Jordan play in this condition in Game 5?
Jordan called the Bulls' medical personnel, which came rushing to his room. They determined that he was suffering from food poisoning or an intestinal stomach virus. "There's no way you'll be able to play Game 5," Jordan was told.
Jordan remains in bed for the next 24 hours, missing the Bulls' morning practices the day before and the day of Game 5. He had lost several pounds. He was dehydrated. Then, at 3 p.m., just three hours before tip-off, Jordan rose from his hotel bed and dragged himself to the Delta Center.
Anyone can be hung over for one day, but two days in a row? For a partier of legendary endurance who knew he had a critical Game 5 coming up after the Jazz had just evened the series 2-2? The timeline doesn't make any sense.
Lastly, if you've watched the flu game, and I've seen it more times than is probably normal, Jordan's entire pallor looks ashen. I've never seen him look so ashen. I've nursed my share of drunks back to life in my day, and Jordan didn't look like he was hungover.
So not much that would hold up under a court of law, but I think the burden of proof is on Jalen Rose.