Weird Rumors About Michael Jordan

February 17, 2017

Undeniable: That Michael Jordan is among the best professional basketball players of all time, if not the best. What’s a bit more debatable: the veracity of these crazy urban legends about His Airness.

Michael JordanDid Michael Jordan have food poisoning during “The Flu Game”?

Perhaps the greatest game in Jordan’s career, which was already full of great games, was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. On the way to a fifth championship, Jordan put up a huge 38 points for the Chicago Bulls against the Utah Jazz, all the more impressive because he had the flu at the time. However, according to former Chicago Bulls trainer Tim Grover Jordan didn’t have the flu at all—he was poisoned! 

While resting up before the game at a Salt Lake City, Utah, area hotel the night before Game 5, Jordan ordered a late night pizza…and, oddly, a group of five guys delivered it. While that seems like it’s just a bunch of people who capitalized on the opportunity to meet Michael Jordan, Grover thinks it was a conspiracy among local Jazz fans to sideline Jordan. He says the pizza was tainted with either some bad cheese or mold in the crust. (As evidence of Grover’s claim, Jordan was the only person among his entourage to eat that pizza, and the only one to get sick. He also recovered in a matter of 48 hours — less time than it takes to get over the flu.)

Was Michael Jordan forced to retire?

In 1993, Jordan shocked the sports world when at the height of his NBA career—he’d just led the Bulls to three straight championships—he announced he was retiring to fulfill his lifelong dream…of playing baseball. Jordan was signed by the Chicago White Sox organization and played in a few minor league games, but it didn’t work out and he was back in the NBA within two years. But rumor has it that it was all a conspiracy and a cover-up. According to that theory, Jordan had actually been caught by the league gambling on games, and they really gave him a two-year secret “suspension.” In the documentary Jordan Rides the Bus, former teammate (and current Golden State Warriors coach) Steve Kerr pokes some major holes in the theory — particularly how the NBA would be foolish to purposely send away its most popular player of all time.

Is Michael Jordan dead?

In 2015, an obscure news site called Cronica MX broke a major story: NBA legend Michael Jordan had died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 52. While the article had an accompanying tribute video which made the story look legitimate (including footage of ESPN anchor Rich Eisen memorializing colleague Stuart Scott edited to look like he was talking about Jordan), it was riddled with errors, such as Jordan dying at his home in “North Caroline.” (For what it’s worth, as of 2021 Michael Jordan is alive and well.)

Want to know more about larger-than-life sports figures? Check out Show Me History! Muhammad Ali: The Great of All Time! It’s available now from Portable Press.

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