The Flu Game
Win at any cost: Michael Jordan
On a particular day in 1997, a game between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz sealed what many regard as one of the greatest moments of Michael Jordan's career. Seven games were to make up the NBA finals that 96/97 season. The finals were to be contested between the Bulls and the Jazz. The first of them to score four wins would take the title. The first two games were won by the Bulls in Chicago while the next two were won by the Jazz in Salt Lake City, Utah. Going into Game 5 which was to be played in Salt Lake City, the teams were tied 2-2. Although Jordan was obviously not in a great physical condition for the game, he seemed to dig deep into the depths of his heart and produce what has since been considered a legendary performance. On the 11th of June in 1997, the “Flu Game”, Game 5 of the NBA finals happened. It remains one of the reasons why Michael Jordan remains the greatest of all time (GOAT) in Basketball. There are those who wouldn't quite agree with this, but that's an argument for the YouTube comments section.
The previous day, he was ill. Jordan, sweating profusely, was found by his personal trainer curled up at 2am on the floor of his hotel room in Park City, Utah. Although the game was an important one for the Bulls, Jordan was advised by trainers that he could not play in the game the next day. Somehow, Jordan however managed to drag himself out of bed just in time to make it to the Delta Center (now Vivint Arena) before the game. At the Delta Center, he was sick in the locker room and could barely move. He had to keep a bucket close because he kept throwing up. Once out on the court, he still looked very sick.
Craig Fite, the ex-Pizza But worker who prepared and delivered the pizza himself claimed that his pizza could not have caused a case of food poisoning as he made sure to do everything properly because he was a bit of a Bull’s fan himself. In reports, he claimed he also wanted to impress his store manager so he put in the extra effort to not just prepare it, but to deliver it himself. Fites statements however make it clear that prior to the delivery, he knew or at least had an idea of who the recipients of the ordered pizza were. While Grover’s statements in “The last Dance” documentary suggest he was sceptical when five guys delivered the pizza, Fite however has stated that there were only two of them who went to deliver it, Fite himself and his driver. Well, it is quite odd that 5 guys would deliver pizza. It must have been a pizza of rather gigantic proportions and weight if 5 guys had to deliver it. Some people have also expressed opinions suggesting that Jordan may have been suffering from a hangover. To be honest, pizza and a hangover is probably a combination many people know quite well.
Tales of players being suspicious of food served to them in hotels and restaurants are not new. There are other incidents with NBA stars and bad food, each with their own levels of credibility. Despite this twist in the story, whether it was food poisoning (with or without intent), the flu, or a hangover, it was still an amazing performance and it was clear that Jordan was not quite right during the game. The Flu Game for now, still holds its charm.