(670 The Score) A man claiming to be the individual who prepared and delivered pizza to Bulls star Michael Jordan the night before his famous "flu game" in Game 5 the NBA Finals in 1997 called the Jordan camp’s version of the events that he got food poisoning from it "a bunch of crap."
Craig Fite went on 1280 The Zone radio in Utah on Monday morning and contradicted the story that was told by Jordan and trainer Tim Grover on "The Last Dance" finale on ESPN on Sunday evening. Fite was an assistant store manager at the Pizza Hut in Park City back in 1997 who personally made and delivered a large thin and crispy extra pepperoni pizza and took it to Jordan’s hotel room around 10 or 10:30 p.m. on June 10, 1997, he told 1280 The Zone.
"That’s a bunch of crap," Fite said of Jordan claiming to have food poisoning from eating a pizza by himself. "It’s one of those things where I’m like, ‘Great, well did you get it diagnosed? Did you go to the doctor and find out?’ No. All this is innuendo on their part. They’re like, ‘Of course it was food poisoning.'"
Without going into detail, Fite insinuated Jordan had been somewhere other than Park City earlier in the day or evening and believes that could've been the source of his sickness, which Jordan said hit him overnight.
"One thing I remind everybody is he was smoking so many cigars, they had windows open, he didn’t have a shirt on, he was in a tank top or whatever, all the guys were," Fite said. "But as you guys know darn good and well, at around 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon in Park City, the sun’s gone behind that mountain. So it gets colder up there.
"Chances are, he had this (already) or they could’ve brought him food from somewhere else if it really was food poisoning. But that pizza was made well. I followed all the rules.
"I’m 100% (sure) it wasn’t food poisoning – or it sure as heck wasn’t (from) that pizza."
Fite was a fan of Jordan's and said he had bet money on the Bulls to win at the time. He even named his son after Jordan, he told the radio station.
His store had taken an order from the Bulls’ hotel in Park City, and he wanted to make sure to it was handled properly, so he oversaw the process, he said.
Fite contradicted the Jordan camp’s claim that five individuals showed up from the pizza company. There were two of them, he said – himself and the delivery driver. Fite didn’t usually go on deliveries but wanted to oversee this one. Both were in uniform.
"I went ahead and made the pizza," Fite said. "In fact, I kind of geeked out watching it, making sure it didn’t puff up, that it was a good pizza. Because of course, it’s for Michael. I had no idea at the time that it was for Michael, but you assume it’s for someone up there.
"They had a police car parked there, and you had to identify yourself. We’re dressed in our uniforms. Both of us are in uniform. It’s clear where we’re coming from. We walk in and security guy says, ‘OK, great, go ahead, go on in.’ The pizza has never left me. It’s been around me the whole time. As soon as you walk into the building, you could already smell the cigar smoke. We get in the elevator and it was on the second or third floor – I think it was the second floor. Anyway, we get up there, and boy, as soon as that door opened, it felt like you got punched in the face with cigar smoke. But there were guys wandering around.
"I remember one of the players saying, ‘Oh, hey pizza, who’s that for?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, it’s room this – I can’t remember the room number. They go, ‘Oh, it’s for Mike, leave it alone.’
Fite then delivered the pizza to Jordan's hotel room, and Grover answered. Grover then shut the door, got some money and paid. Fite asked if he could say hi to Jordan, at which point Grover opened the door farther and the sides exchanged pleasantries before Fite left.
Fite explained there were no other reports from any customers getting sick from pizza that evening, which further leads him to believe Jordan's story is false.
"It's a thin crust pepperoni pizza," Fite said. "It's tough to get food poisoning off of pizza, unless of course you add something to it. But that didn't happen, because it sure as heck didn't leave my hands.
"That's the basic story of what happened."