The Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz played for the NBA title in both 1997 and 1998. The battles were intense as Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen squared off against John Stockton and Karl Malone. What many fans of the era may not recognize is another battle that was going on behind the scenes.
Utah Jazz forward Antoine Carr talked about his stays in Chicago during the NBA Finals in ’97 and ’98. Carr recalls on more than one occasion how he was visited in his hotel room. Sitting in his hotel room the night before a game, Carr remembered how a Playboy model just happened to show up at his door with a cake.
The model showed up in a trench coat and then presented Carr with a cake. When she did, she said “Welcome to Chicago” and the coat just happened to come off. Carr believed the evil ploy to be a distraction. He says that it didn’t work on him as he was a veteran in his mid-30s by then. Carr did say
the cake was pretty good.
The strategy might have paid off for Chicago. The Bulls won five of the six NBA Finals games they hosted in ’97 and ’98.
Similar evil ploys were alleged to have occurred in Utah as well. In the infamous “Flu Game,” Jordan scored 38 points while visibly ill, supposedly from the flu. Jordan’s trainer, Tim Grover had a different
Jordan and Grover are at their hotel and order a late-night pizza. Five guys show up to the room to
deliver it. Only Jordan eats the pizza and by 2 a.m. the Bulls star is curled up in a fetal position in his room. Grover is certain that somebody poisoned Jordan’s pizza.
Of course, Utah’s ploy didn’t work as Jordan led the Bulls to a Game 5 win in 1997. The series went back to Chicago and the Bulls won Game 6 to clinch the series.