In 1997, Michael Jordan (the OG one, not Bae) played in Game 5 of the NBA finals with the flu. It’s one of the most iconic games in NBA history. Jordan was so sick and physically drained, Scottie Pippen literally had to hold him up. The moment has become so legendary that in every NBA finals, highlights from Jordan’s flu game are replayed on loop, with announcers using words like “clutch,” “relentless” and “heroic” to describe his performance. 

Super Bowl Sunday was Pink’s Flu Game. Before you @ me, let’s make it clear that I’m not calling Pink the Michael Jordan of pop music but you could argue that one of the biggest honours in American music is being asked to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. So, this is her equivalent of the NBA finals. If she sounded like sh-t, she would’ve been maligned like Christina Aguilera. If she nailed it, she would have been immortalized as one of the great anthem singers like THE GREATEST, Whitney Houston. Pink knew what was at stake and so she made sure to let us all know she had the flu.  

On Saturday, she posted on Instagram that she was “trying to practice the flu away.” 


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She automatically gets points for paying respect to Whitney. She also kind of gets a pass no matter what, right? I have no doubt that Pink absolutely had the flu. Being sick is the f-cking worst. When you actually have to get up and do things, it’s horrendous. When you have to get up and sing on national television? That sounds like a god-awful nightmare. I did feel really bad for Pink and I’m not trying to downplay her illness but making it known before the performance that she was sick was strategic. It was really f-cking smart and I’m not mad at it. The dramatic way Pink spat out her throat lozenge right before she started singing really drove home the theatrics of Pink’s Flu Game. The lozenge spit was like when MJ was bowled over with his hands on his knees right before he went on to score 38 points. Am I taking this comparison too far? Probably. 

If anyone at your Super Bowl party was arguing that it was gum Pink spat out, she clarified that she was, in fact, spitting out a throat lozenge. 


Of course she was. See above narrative. Again, I’m not mad at it. Today, all of the commentary surrounding Pink’s performance is about how incredible she sounded even though she had the flu. And she did sound really good for someone battling being sick. Pink is a great singer. We know this. The Star-Spangled Banner is a hard song. Add the flu into that mix and you got Pink’s solid but shaky performance. One thing Pink usually brings to her performances is unwavering confidence. Last night, she seemed a bit rattled – understandably. And still, she sang her ass off, even though she didn’t quite hit that high note at the end. Pink came through in the clutch. In 20 years, we’ll just blame that missed note on the flu.