MJ's longtime trainer says he wasn't battling flu during 'Flu Game'

Dick Raphael / National Basketball Association / Getty

Michael Jordan's "Flu Game" in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals was among many iconic moments during his storied 15-year career.

During the pivotal matchup, His Airness fought through flu-like symptoms to give the Chicago Bulls a 90-88 victory and 3-2 series lead over the Utah Jazz heading back to the Windy City.

But according to Jordan's longtime trainer Tim Grover, he wasn't actually battling the flu.

"One hundred percent it was food poisoning, 100%," Grover said during a recent appearance on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take" podcast. "But, obviously, it just sounds better to be the 'Flu Game' than the 'Food Poisoning Game.' That doesn't even roll off your tongue correctly."

The night before Game 5, Jordan and the Bulls were staying in Park City, Utah, which was about a 40-minute drive from the Jazz's home arena in Salt Lake City.

With no room service available at their hotel and most restaurants closed early for the evening, Grover ordered a pizza from one of the only open places because Jordan was hungry.

Grover believes the two slices Jordan ate led to the food poisoning he experienced on the eve of the memorable affair.

"There was about four of us in the room. Nobody ate the pizza but him. Nobody," Grover said. "And there was no signs of flu, anything, being sick, before that. And 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."

Regardless of what Jordan was battling, he clearly wasn't himself. The Hall of Famer shook off a slow start and drained the go-ahead triple with 25 seconds remaining.

Jordan finished with 38 points - including 15 in the final frame - to go along with seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

MJ's longtime trainer says he wasn't battling flu during 'Flu Game'
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