Michael Jordan debunked one of his most legendary moments during The Last Dance, when he said he had food poisoning — not the flu — in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals.
Jordan scored 38 points in 44 minutes and hit a game-winning 3-point shot to lead the Bulls to a 90-88 win against the Utah Jazz during the infamous performance on June 11, 1997, at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. He was often shown on the bench in obvious discomfort and sweating profusely.
The game was dubbed “the flu game” as part of Jordan’s lore but rumors have circulated for decades about the real reasons for the basketball star’s ailment. Jordan’s former personal trainer Tim Grover said in 2013 that Jordan was sick after he ordered pizza the night before the game.
Jordan confirmed the story on Sunday during Episode 9 of The Last Dance. Jordan said he had the pizza while at a Park City, Utah, hotel with Grover and assistant George Koehler.
“I ate the pizza,” Jordan said. “All by myself. Nobody else eats the pizza. I wake up about 2:30 a.m. throwing up left and right.”
Jordan’s Bulls went on to win Game 6 and secured the NBA championship. Jordan averaged 32.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game in the series.
“It really wasn’t the flu game,” Jordan said. “It was food poisoning.”