by Corey Atad
In the pantheon of legendary Michael Jordan moments, there are a few that have achieved an almost mythical level of fame and reverence. But as it turns out, one such moment might have been far different than fans realized.
On Sunday’s new episode of the ESPN documentary series “The Last Dance” — which details Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls in 1997-’98 — the NBA great gave viewers some surprising details regarding his iconic “flu game.”
It was Game 5 of the NBA finals, and Jordan managed to battle through what appeared to be a flu-like illness to help the Bulls defeat the Utah Jazz 90-88, scoring 38 points and securing Jordan’s place in history even more.
Only, it turns out, he might not have battled through the flu after all. Despite the long-standing conspiracy theory that Jordan was actually hungover, Tim Grover, Jordan’s longtime trainer, blames the whole thing on food poisoning.
According to Jordan and Grover, they were in a Utah hotel room the night before the game and Jordan got hungry. The only food place still open at 10:30 p.m. served pizza, so Jordan ordered some. Grover claims five guys showed up to drop it off.
“Five guys delivering one pizza,” Grover said in the doc. “They were all trying to look in. I take the pizza. I pay them. I put this pizza down. I said, ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this pizza.'”
Michael Jordan confirms that the ‘Flu Game’ in game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals was actually food poisoning…5 dudes delivering a single pizza
— Kevin Gray Jr. (@CTSportsRadio) May 18, 2020
Despite Grover’s reservations, Jordan ate the pizza anyway, and a few hours later became extremely ill.
“I ate the pizza all by myself. Nobody else ate the pizza,” Jordan said. “[Then] I wake up about 2:30 throwing up left and right.”
The background behind Jordan’s legendary game didn’t seem to change fans opinions of how impressive it was, although the implication that a pizza place in Utah tried to throw the game by getting Jordan sick sure led to some heated commentary on Twitter.
— Sean Pastrick (@PastrickSean) May 18, 2020
— Kyle Harlow (@Kyle_Harlow) May 18, 2020
— Ryan Amato (@RyanTheMato) May 18, 2020
— Alex (@AlexGomez1485) May 18, 2020
— Andy (@The_Teeps) May 18, 2020
Whether it was food poisoning or the flu, Jordan still managed to play through the pain and help push his team to victory.
“That was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” Jordan shared. “I almost played myself into passing out just to win a basketball game