Back in 1997, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were in a heavily contested series with the Utah Jazz. A crucial Game 5 of the NBA Finals was on the horizon, and the Utah Jazz had the home-court advantage. The Jazz had all the momentum after tying the series 2-2 with wins in Game 3 & 4. Game 5 would forever be remember as the “flu game” for Michael Jordan. Battling the symptoms, he scored 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block to help the Bulls take the win. Visibly ill, nobody knew if he could walk, let alone play the game. Jordan crushed the Jazz with a late 3-pointer to seal the win, and the Bulls won the championship in Game 6.
Jordan’s trainer, Tim Grover has come out publicly to say he doesn’t believe Jordan was suffering from the flu at all. One of the most clutch performances in NBA history may have a new plot twist. Jordan and Grover were in Park City, Utah in a hotel room late at night. Jordan was hungry, and the hotel stopped their room service at 9pm. They both agreed on ordering a pizza and having it delivered to the room. Because of their extended stay, it was not much of a secret that Michael Jordan was staying in that hotel. The pizza is delivered by 5 guys, and Jordan is the only one that eats any of it. Grover thought the whole ordeal was fishy, and had a bad feeling about the food. Around 2am, Grover receives a call to come to Jordan’s room. Grover finds Jordan laying in a fetal position in the middle of his bed as they looked for the team physician. He immediately told Jordan it was food poisoning.
I remember being in grade school and watching Michael Jordan rise up against the Jazz and nail that 3-pointer. You have to remember guys like Karl Malone, John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek, and Bryon Russell who made up that Jazz team that went to the NBA Finals in ’97 and ’98, only to lose to Michael Jordan and the Bulls. The idea that Jordan was poisoned by disgruntled Jazz fans will not take away from his amazing performance that night. Whether it was flu-like symptoms or food poisoning, Jordan had one of the most memorable performances in NBA history.