Did Gatorade cure Michael Jordan’s flu? Health group says ad implying so is wrong

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Scottie Pippen helps an ailing Michael Jordan to the bench after the Bulls took a 90-87 lead late in the game against the Utah Jazz in game five of the NBA finals on June 11, 1997 in Salt lake City, Utah. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

A health group wants to make it clear that Gatorade is not a wonder drug and Michael Jordan is not a superhero.

The Public Health Advocacy Institute is asking the U.S. government to pull a Gatorade ad that implies that Jordan overcame the flu during a 1997 playoff game with help from the energy drink. An ailing Jordan scored 38 points in Game 5 of that series.

The group believes the ad encourages young athletes to participate in dangerous behavior.

“The Jordan Ad openly promotes engaging in vigorous physical activity while suffering from a very high fever, in Jordan’s case 103 degrees,” the institute said in a letter dated May 8 to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. “It is a generally recognized safety principle that teens and even professional athletes suffering from a severe fever and flu-like symptoms should not engage in vigorous physical activity.”

Gannett News Service

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