There are many moments a fan can point to and say something along the lines of “That is the moment where Michael Jordan cemented his legacy as the greatest ever.” Of course, with that being said, one moment might be mentioned far more than others.
It was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals between Jordan’s Bulls and the Utah Jazz. The series was tied at two games apiece, and if Karl Malone, John Stockton and the rest of the Jazz could win in front of their home crowd, they had a clear path to knocking off the defending world champions.
Of course, Jordan would have something to say about that, in spite of the fact that he was visibly exhausted and sick out on the court. In a truly legendary performance, MJ poured in 38 points and willed Chicago to a 90-88 win that would go down in history as ‘The Flu Game’.
However, a new voice has spoken out about the game. Instead of the flu game, Jordan’s trainer Tim Grover says the game should go down in history as ‘The Food Poisoning Game’.
“Yes, one hundred percent,” Grover told TrueHoop TV. “He was poisoned for the ‘Flu Game.’ Everyone called it a flu game, but we sat there. We were in the room.”
So what actually happened the night before the game? Did Jordan drink too much and actually find himself suffering from a bad hangover?
There had been rumors to that extent, but, luckily for the legend, such is not the case. Instead, a poisoned pizza is apparently to blame.
“We were in Park City, Utah, up in a hotel,” Grover says. “Room service stopped at like nine o’clock. And he got hungry and we really couldn’t find any other place to eat. So we said eh, the only thing I can find is a pizza place. So we says all right, order pizza.
“We had been there for a while. Everybody knew what hotel, Park City was not many hotels back then. So everyone kind of knew where we were staying. So we order pizza. They come to deliver it and five guys came to deliver this pizza.
“I take the pizza and I tell them: ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this. … I’ve just got a bad feeling about this.’ Out of everybody in the room, [Jordan] was the only one who ate. Nobody else had it.
“And then at 2 o’clock in the morning I get a call to my room. I come to the room and he’s curled up in the fetal position. We’re looking at him, finding the team physician at that time. And immediately I told him it’s food poisoning. Guaranteed. Not the flu.”
If a group of pizza boys are to blame for engineering one of the greatest individual performances in the history of the game of basketball, well, we simply don’t know what to make of such a situation.
Perhaps Jordan himself will speak out about the game at some point. Until then, we only have the word of his trainer, Grover.
And, of course, highlights of the game itself. Enjoy.
h/t: CBS Sports