10 Plausible Sports Conspiracy Theories

Michael Jordan's 'Flu Game'
Michael Jordan didn’t play like a man with stomach flu in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA finals. He scored 38 points and helped his team to a narrow victory over the Utah Jazz. JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images

Michael Jordan is one of most heralded athletes in the history of sports, and perhaps his greatest performance came on the night of June 11, 1997, when he battled back from a crippling case of intestinal flu to lead his Chicago Bulls to victory in Game 5 of the NBA championship series against the Utah Jazz. At least that's the story we've always heard.

Jordan's personal trainer, Tim Grover, told ESPN's TruHoops TV in 2013, that Jordan wasn't suffering from the flu that night, but a deliberate case of food poisoning.

The Bulls were staying at a hotel in small-town Park City, Utah, where everybody would have known their location. It was late at night and Jordan got hungry, so they ordered a pizza. "Five guys came to deliver this pizza," Grover said [source: Abbott].

Jordan's trainer was immediately suspicious, but the basketball legend couldn't resist a few slices. In the middle of the night, Grover got a frantic phone call to come to Jordan's room. The champ was curled up in the fetal position, shaking with fever, sicker than he had ever been in his life [source: Weinberg].

The team doctors told Jordan he would have to miss the next night's game against the Jazz, but the relentless competitor stumbled into the gym just hours before tip-off. Visibly weak, Jordan mustered the strength to score 38 points in the Bull's 90-87 victory.

Whether an intestinal flu or intentional food poisoning, Jordan simply couldn't be stopped. The Bulls went to win the NBA championship in Game 6.