Reliving the Flu Game with the Jordan XII

"It’s all about desire. You just gotta come out here and do what you gotta do. Me as a leader, I had to come out and do my best. Somehow I found the energy to stay strong. I wanted it really bad." - Michael Jordan

On June 11th, 1997, he solidified himself as the fiercest competitor the NBA had ever seen. A depleted, ailing, flu-ridden Michael Jordan summoned the superhuman strength to score 38 points and will his team to a critical win in Salt Lake City for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. 

What I remember most was seeing the greatest player alive be so vulnerable. During timeouts I held my breath, thinking it might somehow help him from passing out on the bench. Little did I know we were all collectively doing the same thing, exhaling finally when he collapsed into the arms of Scottie Pippen. 

Image: Robby Beckmann

Image: Robby Beckmann

What's also memorable are the shoes he wore that night. So much so that the Jordan brand re-released the "Flu Game” XIIs this summer and celebrated with a pop-up store event and a Game 5 viewing party at Station 23 in Chicago. I got to play emcee for the evening. 

Image: Robby Beckmann

Image: Robby Beckmann

Using a 19th Century Women’s dress boot and the Nisshoki Japanese war flag as inspiration, legendary designer Tinker Hatfield produced a title-worthy durable shoe wrapped comfortably in tumbled leather. A closer look shows how the pattern in the red color way mimics a basketball while the stitching in the black color way creates the appearance of sun rays. 

Talk about going viral, being sick never looked so…sick.