A Brief History of the Iconic Crying Jordan Meme

Felix Ladaga, Staff Writer

Considered by many sports and basketball fans to be one of the greatest to ever lace up and play basketball. Called the G.O.A.T or Greatest Of All Time, many players have strive to replicate or come close to the level of success he’s had. Six time NBA champion, five time regular season MVP, six time Finals MVP and fourteen time NBA Allstar. It’s Michael Jordan, now also well known for being a legendary meme.

If you are an avid Twitter user or use social media on a daily basis, you most likely have come across the infamous “crying Jordan” meme a couple times. In the sports world, it is often used to show great defeat of a team or a player. The image will also be one of the most iconic faces that the sports world has ever seen, but most don’t really know the origin of the meme and the context behind it.

The crying Jordan meme first started out in 2009, when Michael Jordan was giving a very emotional speech during his Hall of Fame induction. During the basketball legends speech, he cried frequently when talking about his best moments and what the sport of basketball has taught him over the years. In doing so, a photographer by the name of Stephan Savoia took the infamous picture of Michael Jordan crying and the rest is history.
As the picture then blew up on social media sites, notably Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, used to show defeat or disappointment. Notable examples include when the Golden State Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, or when the Giants blew a 5-2 lead to the Cubs in the MLB playoffs in 2016, when San Francisco in 2016 was “taking many L’s” sports-wise.
It doesn’t even have to be the players themselves or the coaches; it could also happen to the fans. One such example is Jean Dolores, better known as Sister Jean by many of the players of the Loyola Ramblers men’s basketball team of Loyola University Chicago. During her 99th birthday she stood courtside at one of the games at the final four college basketball games for her favorite team, Loyola Chicago University, in 2018. There were high hopes that Loyola would win it all that year, but sadly bounced out of the final four in a loss against Creighton. Social media took the opportunity to superimpose crying Jordan memes on sister Jean, as she was mostly seen as the figurehead for the Loyola Chicago team.
Another example of the ruthless use of the crying Michael Jordan meme is when it was used against star basketball player Manu Ginobli when his team the San Antonio Spurs played against the Warriors in the playoffs, which didn’t turn out too well for his team, prompting social media to roast the team and Ginobli in their loss against the Warriors.
The crying Michael Jordan has now become an immortalized meme in the sports world. Usually the shelf life of a meme is about 3 months at the most, but there are rare memes such as this one, that withstand the test of time. Now, the crying Michael Jordan meme has become one of the greatest icons to the sports world and to show disappointment or great defeat. It shows the ruthlessness in victory, shows the bummer of defeat, and is one for the history books as it is a great meme for an even greater player behind a truly emotional story.