Game five of the 1997 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz will always go down as the "flu game." Michael Jordan was sick as a dog before the game, but battled through his illness to score 37 points in a dramatic 90-88 victory by Bulls.
But did Michael Jordan actually have the flu? His former trainer says no.
In his new book, Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable, Tim Grover says he is totally convinced Jordan suffered from food poisoning from a pizza he ordered in Park City the night before the game.
"We were staying in Park City," recalled Grover in a phone interview from Chicago. "Room service closed early, Michael got hungry and the only place I could find open was a pizzeria. I thought it really wasn't on the dietary menu for my guy to eat pizza during the Finals, but it was better than having him eat nothing."
Grover says five guys showed up to the hotel where they were staying to deliver the pizza.
"I didn't know if they were just fans, because everybody knew where we were staying," said Grover. "[Jordan] was the only one who eats. No one else eats the pizza. A couple hours later, I get a call to his room and he's curled up in the fetal position. I said, 'OK, this is definitely not the flu. He's had food poisoning.'
Grover said there is no way it could have been a sudden case of the flu considering the circumstances.
"The symptoms are very similar," said Grover, who has also worked with the likes of Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. "But the way it hit him, I said there is no way this could have been the flu. Especially since [how quickly] he got over the sickness after the game. No one ever saw him sneezing or coughing on the basketball floor while he was playing."
So was Jordan intentionally poisoned by crazy Jazz fans? We may never know for sure.
"I don't know if it was a fan that did it," he said. "I don't know. But, how quickly he went from being healthy to being sick, that's the only thing I can possibly think of."
"Listen, I put nothing past Jazz fans, especially back then," said longtime Jazz broadcaster Steve Brown. "This was a time when Michael Jordan was as hated as Kobe ever was, and for the same reason -- he's just so good. But I wouldn't put it past them, especially those Park City guys. You can't trust them anyway."
Former Jazz guard and current assistant coach Jeff Hornacek saw how Jordan played first hand, and he doesn't care how he got sick.
"He looked sick, but he still scored 40 points or whatever it was," Hornacek said. "So, I wish I would have had some of that pizza."
Whatever happened, it will go down as a slice of basketball history.