Longtime Trainer Says Michael Jordan Didn’t Suffer From Influenza During ‘Flu Game’ Against Utah Jazz
May 16, 2020, 3:08 PM | Updated: 11:06 pm
(Photo credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Longtime trainer of Michael Jordan, Tim Grover, said that the basketball legend didn’t suffer from influenza during Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz.
Jordan suffered from flu-like symptoms before and during the game on June 11, 1997, in Salt Lake City.
Despite the symptoms, the Bulls guard put up 38 points on 13-27 field goals, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and a block to lead Chicago to a 90-88 win.
Jordan’s performance earned the contest the nickname MJ’s “Flu Game.”
The victory gave Jordan and the Bulls a 3-2 advantage in the series as they traveled back to the Windy City for a championship-clinching Game 6 win.
In the more than 20 years that have passed since that game, many have wondered if Jordan suffered from influenza or if the symptoms were caused by something else.
Grover recently joined Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast and set the record straight on the cause of Jordan’s symptom from the well-known game.
“One hundred percent it was food poisoning, 100 percent,” Grover said. “Obviously it just sounds better to be the ‘Flu Game’ than the ‘Food Poisoning Game.'”
Jordan’s longtime trainer continued by saying that the Bulls star ordered late-night pizza from a restaurant in Park City, Utah the evening before Game 5.
Grover said that he answered the hotel door and saw five delivery people and thought that was suspicious. He told Jordan of his suspicions but Jordan at the pizza anyway.
“Nobody ate the pizza but him. Nobody,” Grover continued. “There were no signs of flu, anything, being sick before that. Then, about 3 o’clock in the morning, I get a call to my room that just says, ‘Hey, man, come to MJ’s room’ and he’s literally curled up in the fetal position. I’ve not known any flu that can hit you that fast, but I know how quickly food poisoning can hit you.”
Knowing Grover’s first-hand account of the night before the “Flu Game” it seems as though Jordan’s famous performance should more correctly be dubbed “The Food Poisoning Game.”
“That’s my story, that’s what I observed,” Grover said. “I was in the room when all this was going on, so if anybody had a better look than I did I’d like to see who that person was because they definitely weren’t there.”
ESPN is currently airing a 10-part documentary on Jordan’s career called “The Last Dance.” The final two parts will be televised on Sunday, May 17 at 7 p.m. (MDT).
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