Every true basketball fan remembers seeing the images: Bulls forward Scottie Pippen helping is Michael Jordan to the bench during Game Five of the 1997 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz. The series is tied two games a piece with the critical game being played in Salt Lake City.
Reports before the game are saying Jordan is stricken with the flu but is expected to play. In the now infamous, "Flu Game", not only did Jordan play, he scored 38 points (13-27 FG) in 44 minutes in the Bulls' 90-88 victory. The Bulls went on to close out the Jazz in the next game to win their fifth NBA championship.
But Jordan's trainer, Tim Grover, said it was not the flu that got Jordan sick that day. It was food poisoning.
"100 percent," Grover says on TrueHoop TV. "He was poisoned for the 'flu game.' Everyone called it a flu game, but we sat there. We were in the room."
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We were in Park City, Utah, up in a hotel. Room service stopped at like nine o'clock. 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 say 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.
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, [MJ] was the only one who ate. Nobody else had it.
And then 2 o'clock in the morning I get a call to my room. Come to the room. He's curled up in the fetal position. We're looking at him, finding the team physician at that time.
Immediately I told him it's food poisoning.
Not the flu.