False facts about the NBA you always thought were true

Michael Jordan had the flu during “The Flu Game”

In a career full of remarkable moments, “The Flu Game” is one of the standouts for Michael Jordan. With the 1997 Finals tied at two between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz, Game 5 was crucial. Jordan came through, leading all scorers with 38 points. Final Score: Bulls 90, Jazz 88. 

After the game, Jordan told reporters he’d been feeling “really tired and very weak,” and that he played until he almost passed out, ignoring low energy, dehydration, and difficulty breathing. Clearly, Jordan was very sick, and his symptoms pointed to the flu, hence the game going down in history as “The Flu Game.”

But Tim Grover, Jordan’s personal trainer at the time, blames another culprit: food poisoning. In 2013, Grover told TrueHoop TV that late at night before Game 5, Jordan got hungry in his Park City, Utah, hotel room, and they ordered a pizza. When it arrived, it was delivered by not one, but five guys. 

Basketball fans who wanted a glimpse at Jordan? Or Jazz fans looking to sabotage the other team’s chances? As he took the pizza, Grover recalls feeling very suspicious. He said only Jordan ate the pizza, and only Jordan was up at 2 a.m. “curled up in the fetal position.” As far as Grover was concerned, that indicated somebody did something to that pizza. Bulls teammate Ron Harper shared Grover’s suspicions.