Michael Jordan’s “The Flu Game” aka “The Hangover Game” aka “The Poisoned by Pizza Game”
Editor in Chief
Aka VincentDa & RedApples fka Expiredpineapples. My alter-ego is a digital-marketing guy in Houston. Won editing awards & created obsolete flash websites that have been featured in mags like Sports Illustrated. Studied film & women at FSU during the golden age of hip-hop. Collects records, laserdiscs, sports memorabilia & toys. Father of 2 daughters that are more athletic and popular on YouTube.
Follow @David Astramskas
The NBA wants you to believe Michael Jordan had the flu in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA finals in Utah. Gatorade wants you to believe he survived that game by drinking a bunch of sugary high fructose corn syrup. Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose wants you to believe it wasn’t Gatorade in his system but something more intoxicating. MJ’s trainer, Tim Grover, wants you to believe that he was “100 PERCENT POISONED!” Yes poisoned!
This is how Grover explained it to TrueHoop TV
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 says 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.
So let me get this straight, the Bulls were staying at a hotel that wasn’t offering 24/7 access to food for Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. They ordered pizza from a mysterious place that was delivered by five guys at two in the morning. MJ ate it, went into the fetal position, realized it was the pizza place and did not have the cook and delivery boys killed the next day (you do know MJ hangs with real gangsters). Instead, he plays 44 minutes and finishes with 38 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 1 block and 1 big Pippen “I got you” hug.
Possible? Maybe. And maybe this is Pippen’s fault?
During Game 1 of the series, Pippen famously said, “Just remember, the Mailman doesn’t deliver on Sundays” to Karl Malone. This pissed off all the delivery services in Utah, so they got together and came up with a plan to kill MJ. The plan failed because we are talking about the GOAT and it will take more than some expired pepperoni to take him out. How about that conspiracy?
What I find more unbelievable than this theory is how can someone who is used to eating at Lou Malnati’s in Chicago order pizza in Utah? That would be like asking Chicago Bulls fans that are used to watching Jordan, Pippen and Rodman to watch Corey Benjamin, Brent Barry and Dickey Simpkins the following year.
IS IT THE SHOES?
Another crazy story about “The Flu Game” is how a kid got a hold of the shoes Jordan wore during the game and how he sold them for $104,765 at an auction in 2013.
VIA ESPN, this is how the shoes ended up at the auction.
Truman (a Utah Jazz ball boy) was able to secure the shoes, after developing a relationship with Jordan, which started when he says he one day fetched Jordan’s traditional pregame applesauce during the 1996-97 season.
When Jordan came back to Utah for the Finals that year, Truman says he brought Jordan applesauce even though Jordan wasn’t in an eating mood. While Jordan was said to be suffering flu-like symptoms, Jordan’s trainer Tim Grover said years later that he was sure it was from food poisoning from a pizza Jordan ate the night before.
After the game, which put the Bulls up 3-2 and one game from winning their fifth title, Jordan gave Truman his shoes from the game.
About five years ago, Truman thought about parting with the shoes, so he provided Christie’s auction house with the details. After they came back with an estimate of $5,000, Truman put them back at the bank. This year, a friend convinced him to put them on the market and the estimate was more bullish from Grey Flannel, who sold a pair of game-used rookie Air Jordans for $21,780.