Crying Jordan

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The original Associated Press photograph

Crying Jordan, Crying MJ, or Crying Michael Jordan is an Internet meme in which an image of NBA player Michael Jordan crying is superimposed on images of athletes or others who have suffered misfortune.

The source photo was taken by Associated Press photographer Stephan Savoia during Jordan's speech at his Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on September 11, 2009.[1]

Creation and timeline[edit]

The image was used in 2012, without modification, to comment on Jordan's decision to buy the Charlotte Bobcats NBA franchise. The photoshopped head alone was first used in 2014 by posters on internet message board[2]

"Crying Jordan" began to attract mainstream media attention in late 2015 and early 2016.[3][4] The meme began to spark a backlash in the sports media in early 2016, as some sports media figures complained that the meme was unoriginal or had become overused.[5]

An open-source[6] mobile app called "The Crying Jordan Meme Generator" allows users to easily add the Jordan image to other images, and has been downloaded by several thousand people.[2][7]

Media critics have suggested that the popularity of the meme stems in part because "[i]t's the ultimate alpha [male] in a vulnerable position",[2] and that "people simultaneously mock and celebrate ... a masculine star who expresses vulnerability".[7]


Outside the Internet world, the meme has been referenced in interviews by various athletes and public figures, such as basketball player Draymond Green, professional golfer Jordan Spieth,[8] and the rapper Schoolboy Q. [9] Various athletes, like Steph Curry, Jon Jones and Roberto Luongo have also used the image self-deprecatingly on social media after struggling or failing in games, or having suffered some other misfortune.[2][10] Outside of sports, the image has also been used in combination with images of politicians like Barack Obama and Marco Rubio.[7]

Ties to Jordan[edit]

The meme was heavily used after North Carolina (Jordan's alma mater) lost to Villanova in the 2016 National Championship, during which Jordan was in attendance.[11] On November 22nd, 2016, when awarding a Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jordan, President Obama joked that he was "more than just an internet meme".[12]

Jordan's spokesperson has told the press that Jordan himself finds the meme funny.[7]


  1. ^ Barry Petchesky. "How Crying Jordan Became A Thing". Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  2. ^ a b c d "You and Meme". 16 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Germano, Sara (4 February 2016). "Michael Jordan Surges on Web as 'Crying Jordan'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  4. ^ "What's up with 'Crying Jordan'? – CNN Video". Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  5. ^ "It's time to retire the overused crying Jordan meme | For The Win". 22 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  6. ^ "Crying Jordan Meme Generator iOS Mobile App Source Code created by David Okun". 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Crying Jordan: The Meme That Just Won't Die". 3 June 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "Jordan Spieth tries to dodge future 'Crying Jordan' meme". 2 April 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-07. 
  10. ^ Ducey, Kenny (2016-02-17). "The 23 best 'Crying Jordan' memes". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2016-12-15. 
  11. ^ "Michael Jordan Crying Memes Dominate Internet After Villanova Buzzer-Beater". NESN. 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-12-15. 
  12. ^ "Michael Jordan held back tears at Medal of Freedom". 23 November 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-23. 

See also[edit]