In Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan scored 38 points in a two-point victory over the Utah Jazz, all while he had the flu.
Or so we thought.
In what has become known as “The Flu Game,” MJ had one of his most memorable performances, dominating an NBA Finals game while visibly physically weak. The images of that game involve him nearly crumbling at times, being held up by teammate Scottie Pippin, completely dehydrated and having lost several pounds from the flu.
Only, it turns out that it wasn’t the flu.
According to a recent interview with TrueHoop TV, longtime Jordan trainer Tim Grover said that Jordan had ordered pizza the night before and several hours later was curled up in the fetal position in his hotel room bed.
Regardless of whether it was food poisoning or the flu, Jordan’s performance still ranks among his greatest feats, performing as well as he did on the grandest basketball stage, all while physically drained.
“That was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” Jordan has said of the game. “I almost played myself into passing out just to win a basketball game.”
Even though we now know the true source of Jordan’s illness, perhaps we should keep the “Flu Game” title intact. “The Bad Pizza Game” doesn’t have that same ring to it.