In Episode 9 of “The Last Dance,” Michael Jordan’s longtime trainer Tim Grover set out his version of events in the run-up to the Flu Game. Here’s the abbreviated rundown:
Late the night before Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, Michael Jordan got hungry.
Given that the Bulls were staying in far-off Park City, Utah, takeout and delivery options weren’t bountiful. They settled on the one pizza place they could find that was open.
Eventually, five delivery people showed up at the door with said pizza, allegedly hip to the identity of the client they were serving. This made Grover suspicious.
Jordan was the only one to eat the pizza, then awoke at some point in the middle of the night. Ravaged. Food-poisoned (possibly real poisoned?).
Then, he dropped 38 points (13-for-27 shooting), seven rebounds and five assists on the entire state of Utah.
It’s a pretty tidy explanation. The “Flu Game” was really the “Food Poisoning Game.” Case closed.
But there remain plot holes to examine. On the “Jalen & Jacoby Aftershow” with director Jason Hehir after the finale of “The Last Dance,” David Jacoby raised one of them: Was Michael Jordan really the only person in the hotel room to eat the pizza?
“I don’t believe when he (Grover) said Michael Jordan was the only one to eat the pizza. Because I have been in hotel rooms with a full pizza and four dudes,” Jacoby said, “and everyone is having a slice. Everybody is having a slice.”
Hehir countered his skepticism with an explanation that was both logical and downright nasty.
“The backstory to that — and you have been in rooms with a bunch of dudes and a pizza, and I have too. I have not been in a room with a pizza where we all ate dinner, and Michael Jordan did not eat dinner because we didn’t wait for him to order,” Hehir told Jacoby and Rose. “So earlier that night, those guys all ate dinner, and didn’t wait for Michael when they ordered. So it gets to be 10, 11 o’ clock, and Michael is starving, and says, ‘I want a pizza’ or ‘Get me something.’ … They weren’t staying downtown (Salt Lake City) where things would be readily available. There was no room service in the hotel, so they call out.
“When the pizza shows up, Michael says, ‘Everybody, do not touch this pizza. This is mine, you didn’t wait for me. Don’t touch this.’ So he spits on the pizza.”
That's right. He spit on the freaking pizza.
Now, to be clear, this is all what Hehir was being told by the principals involved in the story. It’s entirely possible Jordan’s camp rallied together and got their stories straight, knowing the documentary interviews and media firestorm was coming.
But isn’t something about it perfectly believable?