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Michael Jordan's trainer says he was poisoned for the 'Flu Game'

By Royce Young | NBA writer

Should Michael Jordan's famed "Flu Game" actually be known as the "Poison Game"?

MJ's trainer, Tim Grover says so.

"Yes, 100 percent," Grover told TrueHoop TV. "He was poisoned for the 'Flu Game.' Everyone called it a flu game, but we sat there. We were in the room."

Background: Game 5 of the 1997 Finals against the Jazz, Jordan showed up to the arena entirely ill, but played through it. Visibly exhausted and obviously sick, he finished with 38 points as the Bulls took a 3-2 series lead with a 90-88 win, only further cementing Jordan's legacy as the greatest ever. One of the most iconic images in basketball history is Jordan being carried by teammate Scottie Pippen back to the bench late in the fourth quarter.

There have been differing theories as to why Jordan was sick. Some claimed he embellished it. Others said he was actually hung over. But Grover is adament that Jordan actually was poisoned. Here's the story, via TrueHoop:

"We were in Park City, Utah, up in a hotel," Grover says. "Room service stopped at like nine o'clock. And 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 say 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. They come to deliver it, and 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, [Jordan] was the only one who ate. Nobody else had it.

"And then, at 2 o'clock in the morning, I get a call to my room. I come to the room, and he's curled up in the fetal position. We're looking at him, finding the team physician at that time. And immediately I told him it's food poisoning. Guaranteed. Not the flu."

Flu. Poison. Whatever. It doesn't really matter what the actual cause of his illness was, because Jordan's performance in that Game 5 is one of the great moments in NBA history. I can already imagine 50 years from now, we're going to remember that game as Jordan throwing up at midcourt after each point he scored. The legend will only grow.

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