Sam Smith Says Michael Jordan Fabricated Multiple Things in “The Last Dance”

Smith covered Jordan during his glory days with the Bulls

Michael Jordan holds up the Most Valuable Player trophy at the All-Star game. (TIM CLARY/AFP via Getty)
Michael Jordan holds up the Most Valuable Player trophy at the All-Star game. (TIM CLARY/AFP via Getty)
AFP via Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / May 27, 2020 11:03 am

Sam Smith, a Chicago sportswriter who covered Michael Jordan during his glory days with the Bulls and penned The Jordan Rules, has accused the former NBA star of fabricating a number of stories in ESPN’s The Last Dance. 

“There were several things in the documentary, what I saw, I would know, that he made up or he lied about,” Smith said in an interview with Bonta, Steiny and Guru of 95.7 The Game.

Smith has multiple issues with the storytelling in The Last Dance, with one of them being that Jordan’s assertion he was served poisoned pizza before the infamous Flu Game is completely false. (Others have also called that story into question.)

“There were all of the outlines of what happened, but a lot of the detail, like the pizza thing, the poison, that was complete nonsense,” Smith said. “There were a couple of other things like that I won’t go into.”

During a subsequent interview with Dan Patrick, Smith suggested Jordan was actually battling a bout of altitude sickness, not pizza-induced food poisoning.

“He was ill. There’s no question,” Smith said. “I think he had something that wasn’t as manly as maybe some other episodes … I think it was altitude sickness. The symptoms that he had fit that much more than anything else that he had. There was some sort of illness. There’s no question he was ill. I wouldn’t deny that. He definitely was. He was sick. But he wasn’t poisoned.”

In related Jordan news, audio has emerged of him informing Olympic team selection committee Rod Thorn that he would not play on the 1992 Dream Team if former Piston Isiah Thomas was on the roster.

Though Jordan requesting Thomas be snubbed had long been a rumor, he denied it during The Last Dance. As the audio indicated, that denial was false.

“I said, ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team,’” Jordan says in the audio snippet from the Dream Team Tapes podcast. “He assured me. He said: ‘You know what? Chuck doesn’t want Isiah. So Isiah is not going to be part of the team.’”

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