Michael Jordan didn’t get bad pizza before Game 5 of 1997 NBA Finals, former deliveryman says

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The person who allegedly delivered the pizza to Michael Jordan the night before his infamous “flu game” in the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz disputed the NBA legend’s tale Monday.

Craig Fite claimed in a radio interview with 1280 The Zone’s’ “The Big Show” in Utah that he was the former Pizza Hut employee who delivered the pizza to Jordan and his camp before Game 5 of the Finals.


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Fite disputed the notion that the pizza was “poisoned.” He said he was a Jordan and a Bulls fan growing up in Utah. He said he took the opportunity to make the pizza himself because it was suggested to him from a hotel employee that one of the players may have been looking for a late-night meal.

“That’s a bunch of crap,” Fite said of the story told in Episode 9 of “The Last Dance” on Sunday night about how Jordan may have gotten a bad pizza. “Sorry, we were five creepy looking guys that the guy felt threatened? I guess you have to sell your book but it really wasn’t that exciting.”

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Fite said he “followed the rules” when making the pizza. He also said he had no idea that order was for Jordan in the first place.

“As soon as you walk into the building you can smell the cigar smoke,” Fite said. “And we get in on the elevator and go up to I think the second floor. As soon as that door opened it felt like you got punched in the face with cigar smoke.”

Fite recalled giving the pizza to Jordan’s trainer Tim Grover and that Grover took the pizza, closed the door, and gave him $20. Fite said he asked whether he could give the pizza to Jordan.

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“I mean, why not? It’s my one shot. The door kind of opens up a little more. Mike is sitting at the chair, he’s playing cards or whatever, raises his hand and says, ‘thanks, man.’ The guy looks at me and shuts the door,” Fite said.

Fite said he was concerned once he heard that Jordan was sick before the game started.

“It’s a thin crust pepperoni pizza,” he said. “It’s tough to get food poisoning off a pizza unless of course, you add something to it, but that didn’t happen because sure as heck it didn’t leave my hands.”

The mysterious pizza was a point of conversation during the episode.

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George Koehler, Jordan’s friend, said he ordered the pizza and when it was delivered to the hotel, five delivery people came up to the room.

“It’s very rare you get five delivery guys from the pizza place to bring you your pizza,” Koehler said

Grover added: “They’re all trying to look in, and everybody knew it was Michael. So I take the pizza, I pay them, and I put this pizza down and I say ‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this.’”

Jordan ate the pizza.

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“I ate the pizza. All by myself. Nobody else eats the pizza. I wake up about 2:30 throwing up left and right,” Jordan said.

“So it really wasn’t the flu game. It was food poisoning.”

Jordan would play in Game 5 and put on a masterful performance despite being visibly sick the entire game. He scored 38 points in 44 minutes and the Bulls won the game, 90-88. Chicago went on to win its fifth NBA championship.



By Ryan Gaydos

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