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He remembers waking up in the middle of the night, sweating profusely, shaking, and feeling as if he was going to die. "I was scared; I didn't know what was happening to me," Michael Jordan would say.
At first, he thought it was a nightmare. Then he realized it was real, that he was seriously ill. "I felt partially paralyzed," he would later say.
When he lifted himself up from his bed in his Utah hotel room, his head began spinning. He'd never been so nauseated before. He feared that somehow, some way, someone had slipped some kind of drug in something he ate.
It was the middle of the night in Salt Lake City, an off day between Games 4 and 5. The series was tied, 2-2, following Utah's second consecutive win, but how in the world could Jordan play in this condition in Game 5?
Jordan called the Bulls' medical personnel, which came rushing to his room. They determined that he was suffering from food poisoning or an intestinal stomach virus. "There's no way you'll be able to play Game 5," Jordan was told.
Jordan remains in bed for the next 24 hours, missing the Bulls' morning practices the day before and the day of Game 5. He had lost several pounds. He was dehydrated. Then, at 3 p.m., just three hours before tip-off, Jordan rose from his hotel bed and dragged himself to the Delta Center.
Scottie Pippen went on to say that there was no way Jordan would be able to put on a jersey before the game.