Flu Game or the Food Poisoning Game?

Episodes 9 and 10 of The Last Dance aired last night.

Jim Rome
May 18, 2020 - 9:40 am
Michael Jordan

USA Today


Episodes 9 and 10 of The Last Dance aired last night. And there were plenty of moments. There were the battles with the Indiana Pacers… and pizza. It’s easy to forget now, but those Pacers were damn good teams. Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Mark Jackson, Dale Davis, Antonio Davis, Rik Smits, Jalen Rose and the list goes on. Those guys were tough. They were tough as hell. And they had Larry Bird as their head coach.

And if you thought Jay Wright was cool when his guys hit game-winners, you haven’t seen that incredible shot of Larry Bird, stone cold and expressionless after Reggie Miller hit his clutch three, knowing that Michael Jordan was still on the floor and there was still time on the clock.

And then you go the incredible moment between Jordan and Bird after Game 7.

Those are the best moments of the series, when guys are just interacting and Jordan isn’t telling you WHAT to think… or HOW to feel. 

And you also got to learn something new about Jordan and what he thought of the Pacers.

WAIT…What? Really? It was personal with you? And an opponent?

This series should not have been called The Last Dance, it should’ve simply been called “It Became Personal With Me.” Because that is the thrust of every single episode and every single interaction.

We get it, Mike. It’s personal with you and the Pacers. It was personal with the Knicks. It was personal with Karl Malone for winning the MVP. It was personal with LaBradford Smith and LaBradford Smith didn’t even do anything.

How personal was everything with Jordan? It was personal with Bryon Russell. He got added to the list and he was added to the list when Jordan was playing baseball. Jordan isn’t even playing the same sport and he’s still putting guys on the list and making it personal.

Episode 9 also includes a discussion of The Flu Game, which apparently should be called The Food Poisoning Game. The fact that it wasn’t the flu is nothing new, but we did get some more info on how it went down.

Just know that the twitter conspiracy theory crew was not buying it. Not at all. But here’s the info: According to the story, Jordan and his guys were in Utah for Game 5 in 1997. They were hanging in a hotel room and Jordan says he’s hungry. Room service is closed, so they start calling around, looking for a place that will deliver.

And they find a pizza place. They order and five guys show up to deliver the pizza. That’s weird. Like really, really weird. Five guys delivering a pizza.

The implication is that they knew the pizza was for Michael Jordan. And what’s inferred from that implication is that the pizza place knew it was going to Jordan, so they poisoned it. Huh? What?

First off, how did they know it was for Jordan? Did someone say “Hi, I’m ordering pizza for Michael Jordan? He’s number 23 for the Bulls.”

I know he’s hungry and maybe you have to flex a little to make sure you can get some food, but would that really be a wise thing to do, in Utah, before a crucial Finals game?

And do pizza places just have poison lying around on the off-chance a rival basketball player makes an order?

And then there’s this detail.

Ate the whole thing by himself? Really? Who are you, Papa John?

That has to be the first time in human history that a group of guys ordered a late night pizza and only one guy ate pizza. That is so weird. Everyone else turned down pizza? When the hell has that ever happened? It’s like everyone else ran away from it. I don’t care if you’ve just eaten a five course meal. If there’s pizza around, you always have room for a slice or two.

Then there is this detail from Jordan’s past that never showed up in this documentary. He had a history of doing nasty things with food. Director Jason Hehir said that Jordan spat on the pizza that night to make sure that nobody else would eat it.

And according to Wright Thompson “Back when they used to shoot a lot of commercials, Jordan's security team would wait for him in his trailer while he was on set. A woman named Linda cooked Michael's meals, and he loved cinnamon rolls. She'd bake a tray and bring it to him. When it came time to film, he'd see the guards eyeing the cinnamon rolls and he'd walk over and spit on each one, to make sure nobody took his food.”

That is freaking horrific. And so Michael Jordan. He want doesn’t anyone else to win anything and he doesn’t want anyone else to eat anything.

Anyway, Jordan eats the pizza, all by himself, and then becomes violently ill.

And just so we’re clear, I’m not saying that Jordan was faking in the Flu Game or the Food Poisoning Game or the I Just Ate A Whole Pizza By Myself Game. And I'm know that the Twitter conspiracy gang is having a hard time believing the pizza story and thinks it's a cover for him having too much to drink.

And my guy, Tim Grover, Jordan’s personal trainer was there; he insists he was the guy that found the pizza joint and ordered it; and paid for it at the door; and immediately had a bad feeling when five dudes delivered it; and swears that’s exactly how it all went down. Try telling Grover it wasn’t the pizza; Bottom line, I don’t care why he was wrecked. He was wrecked. Clearly wrecked in that game. He was sweating like crazy. Scottie Pippen was practically carrying him to the bench during timeouts.

And the fact that he was on the court at all was amazing. Let alone playing 44 minutes and scoring 38 points is ridiculous. It’s legendary. I don’t care if it’s a flu, food poisoning, or a hangover as conspiracy theorists would believe, no matter what put him in that condition, to play like that under those circumstances is absolutely incredible.

And if it was the pizza, it’s pretty safe to say that after that game, pizza was added to the list. When it comes to pizza, it became personal with Jordan. And he’s been punishing it ever since. Like, Yo Pizza, you may have gotten over on me, but now it’s personal! Now you’re on my list.  Pizza, you HO!! I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN AND DESTROY YOU, EVERY CHANCE I GET.  FOR THE REST OF MY CAREER.  HELL, FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, YOU PEPPERONI, HO! Clearly, Mike got the last word with Pizza. And continues to do so. And tequila. Or whatever is in that glass.

If you want to weigh in, go ahead: was it pizza or was it scotch. Was it pizza or was it the something else. We know it wasn’t the flu; that’s the one thing we DO know. What do you think it was? My take, does it even really matter. Look how the man played.