Anyone who has ever kept up with basketball — even if you don’t nowadays — has probably heard of Michael Jordan’s famous “Flu Game” during the 1997 NBA Finals. The legendary Chicago Bulls shooting guard dropped 38 points in a Game 5 victory over the Utah Jazz, but he did so while dealing with some sort of body ailment.
For years, everyone thought Jordan had the flu. But during ESPN’s 10-part documentary The Last Dance, which aired last May, Jordan and his camp dropped a bombshell — they believe he actually had food poisoning from a pizza from Pizza Hut.
Granted, the man who delivered that pizza almost 25 years ago, Craig Fite, has strongly denied those claims. Lucky for him, the team doctor for the Bulls back then, Dr. John Hefferon, might have his back.
Hefferon recently joined Dr. David Chao, whom you all know as Pro Football Doc, for an interview. In that interview, Chao wisely asked Hefferon if the team doctors did in fact think that Jordan had food poisoning leading up to Game 5. His response:
“No, I don’t know that he had food poisoning,” Hefferson said laughingly. “We always thought he might have had altitude sickness.”
Chao immediately followed it up by saying “so maybe that pizza place is exonerated,” which led to this follow up from Hefferon:
“Yeah, maybe. It may very well be,” he said as the two continued to laugh.
Looks like we might have to rename the incredible performance once again. After 23 years of calling it the “Flu Game,” we spent roughly a year trying to adjust to “Food Poisoning Game,” which clearly didn’t have the same ring to it. Now we can officially call it the “Altitude Sickness Game.”
If you’re wondering how to feel about that renaming, trust me, you’re not alone. But at least one person — looking at you, Fite — is thrilled to hear this news.
You can check out that entire interview between Chao and Hefferon below. If you want the specific spot where they discuss their “Flu Game” thoughts, fast forward to 9 and a half minutes in.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.