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“They Had Windows Open. He Didn’t Have a Shirt On”: The Iconic Flu Game of Michael Jordan Has an Unheard Side That Was First Revealed in 2020

Published 01/16/2023, 6:50 AM EST

4 min read

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Michael Jordan has had a bunch of iconic games that have gone down in the history of the NBA. His scoring outburst against the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, Jordan putting on a show with bleeding feet in Madison Square Garden, and the list goes on. But one of the most iconic games of Michael Jordan’s career has to be his flu game in Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. No doubt Jordan put on a show but now the story of how MJ got sick has a new theory to it.

For those of you who do not know, Michael Jordan got sick prior to Game 5 of the 1997 Finals against the Jazz, and how he got sick has been widely described due to a bad pizza Jordan had by himself.

The other side of the story behind Michael Jordan and his flu game


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A new theory has unfurled since the release of Jordan’s documentary, ‘The Last Dance.’ The documentary strongly suggested that the pizza delivered to Jordan’s hotel late at night had been tampered with. 

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But recently, the guy who made and delivered the pizza spoke out on Facebook after seeing how the story was presented in the docuseries. Craig Fite joined ‘The Big Show’ podcast to give his side of the story.


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Fite mentioned that despite being from Utah, he was a Chicago Bulls fan. And also made sure to cook and deliver the pizza himself in order to make sure nothing harmful was added to the pizza. He also made sure to deliver it by asking the driver to take him to the hotel. 

As soon as he reached the hotel and arrived on the floor where the Bulls were staying, he was met with a strong odor of cigars on the entire floor. Fate was with the driver as he addressed the room Jordan was staying in. 


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Contradicting statements from both sides

The story told by Fite also contradicts what Jordan’s trainer and the driver said in the docuseries when they mentioned there were four to five guys delivering the pizza. Fite apparently wanted to greet Jordan so Tim Grover opened the door wide enough for him. 

Jordan looked up from the card game he was in the middle of and thanked Fite. But what Fite saw may be the actual reason how Jordan ended up getting sick. Fite said on the podcast, “One thing I remind everybody is, he was smoking so many cigars.”


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“They had windows open. He didn’t have a shirt on or he was in a tank top. At around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon in Park City, the sun is gone behind that mountain so it gets colder up there,” added Fite. 

Now it is up to fans to decide what caused Jordan to get sick. Was it the pizza or did MJ perhaps just catch a cold? Let us know what you think in the comments section down below.



Abhishek Dhariwal

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Abhishek Dhariwal is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He earned his bachelor's degree in English Honors from St. Xavier's College and his master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from AAFT School of Mass Communication and Journalism.

Edited By: Veer Badani