In 2009, Michael Jordan, one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. During his speech, Jordan cried, and the Internet was never the same.
It took a few years, but over the last several months the meme known as Crying Jordan has exploded in popularity, taking Twitter by storm. The concept is simple: Whenever anything bad happens to a person, you Photoshop Jordanâ€™s crying head on their face.
Cam Newton completes less than half of his pass attempts in the Super Bowl? Thereâ€™s Crying Jordans for that. Head coach Chip Kelly gets fired by the Philadelphia Eagles? Thereâ€™s Crying Jordans for that. Presidential candidate Marco Rubio gets beaten badly by Donald Trump in his home state of Florida and has to drop out of the Republican Primary? You guessed it, go looking on Google, and youâ€™ll find Crying Jordans for that too.
For something that seems so incredibly simple, people are constantly inventing new and creative ways to use the meme.
In Super Bowl 50, Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano missed a field goal in which the ball bounced off the side of the upright, and thereâ€™s an animated gif that has transformed the football into one big spinning Jordan head.
â€œFun of crying MJ is finding new and creative ways to say the same thing. Unlike people who just say they hate crying MJ the same every time,â€ Twitter user @mdotbrown tweeted Monday night.
As popular as Crying Jordan is, the meme does have its detractors, and Twitter was overloaded Monday night with fans and haters alike, as Jordanâ€™s alma mater, the North Carolina Tarheels, were defeated by Villanova on a thrilling buzzer-beating three-pointer for the NCAA Championship.
Michael Jordan was in attendance for the game and was frequently shown on the television cameras, giving Photoshoppers dozens of chances to plaster the teary Jordan face on MJ himself, and Twitter users took full advantage of the opportunity.
There was such a mass of memes that the aftermath lingered into Tuesday morning, when multiple anti-Crying Jordan articles were published, including one on USA Todayâ€™s For The Win blog titled â€œItâ€™s time to retire the overused crying Jordan meme.â€
In the article, author Charlotte Wilder said itâ€™s time to put an end to the jokes.
â€œSo where do we go from here? Nowhere. Because once you make a meme so meta that it collapses in on itself like a black hole of internet sadness, there is no where else you can go,â€ Wilder wrote. â€œIt was funny for a while, but after last night, we have officially reached peak crying Jordan.â€
Wilder continued, â€œItâ€™s also annoying and played-out, and Iâ€™m sick of it.â€ Naturally, when Wilder shared the story on her Twitter account, her mentions were lit ablaze with images of Jordanâ€™s crying head on top of her own body.
As Twitter user @KevinMcGannon explained: â€œWhat makes Crying Jordan so great is that when anyone complains about it, you just put Crying Jordan on that personâ€™s face.â€
This is the nature of Crying Jordan. On Twitter you have two options: You accept the meme and become a hero, or you complain long enough to see yourself become the Jordan.
Bleacher Report NBA reporter Chris Palmer also spoke out against the meme, tweeting, â€œNobody who saw Michael Jordan play would ever do an MJ Crying Meme. Thatâ€™s the difference between me and you,â€ and â€œThey done made a dozen MJ memes about me. Thatâ€™s cool. Canâ€™t let my hero be reduced to a joke. I know itâ€™s not that serious. Still I fight.â€
Palmerâ€™s second tweet is incredibly ironic because in it, he includes the single best argument in favor of Crying Jordan: Itâ€™s not serious. Twitter is a platform built for rapid reactions and jokes, and Crying Jordan is its magnum opus. No sane personâ€™s opinion of Michael Jordan is lowered because heâ€™s an Internet joke now. It is harmless.
According to a poll of 50 people conducted by The Daily Helmsman, 42 percent of voters said they love the Crying Jordan meme, while 50 percent say itâ€™s gotten stale. Only eight percent said they hate the meme.
It makes sense itâ€™s gotten stale to some people. Itâ€™s been going strong for about a year now, but if it wasnâ€™t still funny to a lot of people, the Photoshops wouldnâ€™t still be getting hundreds or sometimes even thousands of retweets. If anything, the meme is growing even stronger, with Monday nightâ€™s National Championship game being perhaps the most Crying Jordaned event yet.
A day in the future will surely come when the meme finally dies, but at least for now, that day doesnâ€™t appear to be any time soon.
Michael Jordan is considered by most to be the greatest basketball player of all-time, and if the trend keeps up, he might just go down in history as the greatest meme as well. Long live Crying Jordan.
'Crying Jordan' has grown in popularity over the last year or so on social media. The 'Crying Jordan' originated from Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan's 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame speech.Â