The ‘Crying Jordan' meme turned 10 this week and its cultural impact is still being felt


Today marks the anniversary of a momentous day in the history of sport: On this day 10 years ago, Michael Jordan was officially enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame. For Bulls fans, MJ’s induction provided a chance to reflect on and revel in the memories of a golden era of Chicago basketball. For NBA fans, at large, Jordan’s impassioned speech was the cherry on top of an iconic career that captivated the hearts and minds of many, regardless of fanatic affiliation. 

But internet-addicted bloggers like myself remember Jordan’s epic ceremony for a different reason. For me, the ten-year anniversary of his speech is really the ten-year anniversary of a meme as revolutionary as the man himself: the ‘Crying Jordan’ meme. 

Henry Bushnell of Yahoo! Sports recently released a comprehensive oral history of the ‘Crying Jordan’ meme, and to call it an essential piece of journalism would be an understatement. In it, many underrated details surrounding the origin and evolution of the meme are fleshed out. The piece also serves as a pseudo-exhibition of the most creative uses of the meme over the years (music to my ears, personally).

But perhaps the most eye-catching quote of the piece came from MJ’s son, Marcus Jordan, who let slip that there was at one point a chance of the ‘Crying Jordan’ face appearing in the sockliner of the recently released No L’s.

“I think the one thing most people didn’t know was that it was [almost] used in a recent shoe release, but didn’t make the final cut. The Jordan Brand shoes that just came out, the No L’s, the first sample featured the Crying Jordan face in the sockliner on the inside of the shoe. Obviously, it didn’t get approved. But the first sample definitely does have the Crying meme on the sockliner,” Marcus Jordan said.

In the next line of the article, a Jordan spokesperson is quoted as saying that Jordan Brand, “doesn’t use memes on [their] apparel.” Still, one can dream. In an alternate reality where those hypothetical shoes hit the market, they would be an instant classic, no doubt about it.

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