The true story of Michael Jordan's epic and legendary "flu game" during the 1997 NBA Finals may never be uncovered.
Or at least that's what some still believe.
During episode 9 of the ESPN docuseries "The Last Dance," Jordan and Tim Grover, Jordan's trainer, explained that about with food poisoning plagued the six-time champion before and during Game 5 of the Finals. Despite battling flu-like symptoms, Jordan scored 38 points and drained a clutch three-pointer with 25 seconds remaining to guide the Bulls to a 90-88 victory.
Not everybody buys the story.
As noted by Bleacher Report in February 2013, former player and current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose once allegedly suggested Jordan was hungover that fateful evening in Utah. Per Dan Feldman of NBC Sports, Jody Genessy of the Deseret News added fuel to the fire with some controversial tweets on the matter:
A fun tidbit from a source I asked about the Flu Game. The source was told from a Jazz staffer on the night of Game 5 something along the lines of: "Flu my ass. The Bulls' PR guy just said Jordan was in Vegas all night and he was hung over."
I still call BS on the food poisoning story.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) May 18, 2020
He also wouldn't want to admit he had a hangover and was out all night partying.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) May 18, 2020
A Utah pizza joint food poisons Michael Jordan before one of the biggest games of his life and he didn’t burn the place down the next week? Come on.— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) May 18, 2020
Because if there’s one thing Jordan’s known for it’s restraint against perceived enemies.— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) May 18, 2020
As Feldman wrote, Jordan publicly discussed taking a trip to Atlantic City with his father during the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals versus the New York Knicks, so a mid-Finals excursion to Vegas wouldn't have been out of character for His Airness. It's also no secret Jordan enjoyed gambling and some cold beverages after games.
Whatever the truth is, it merely adds to Jordan's legacy.