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Crying LeBron is a reaction image and photoshop meme based on a photograph of Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James crying while embracing teammate Kevin Love following their team's championship win against the Golden State Warriors in late June 2016. The series has been widely compared to the Crying Michael Jordan photoshop meme.
On June 19th, 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors 93 to 89 in the NBA Finals championship game, marking the team's first championship victory in 52 years. Immediately after the match, LeBron James celebrated by embracing his teammates and collapsing to the ground while crying (shown below).
That evening Twitter user Ross Bolen tweeted a photograph of James embracing teammate Kevin Love while crying, along with the caption "This is the photo that becomes the crying LeBron meme" (shown below). Within 48 hours, the tweet gathered upwards of 5,200 likes and 3,200 retweets.
Also on June 19th, Twitter user Brandy Jensen posted the photograph of James along with the caption "When u r drunk and Landslide comes on," gathering upwards of 1,900 likes and 800 retweets in two days (shown below, left). Meanwhile, Twitter user Sophia Benoit captioned the photo with the joke "when that one couple in your friend group finally breaks up for good" (shown below, right).
Also on June 19th, the CringLeBronJames Instagram feed was created, which gathered more than 6,600 followers in the next 48 hours. On June 20th, other Twitter users began photoshopping a cutout of the face on to other base images of various contexts, along with the hashtag #CryingLebron (shown below).
Meanwhile, the Clevver News YouTube channel posted a round-up of celebrity reactions to the LeBron James Crying photograph (shown below).
On June 21st, the Good Morning America Twitter account posted a tweet about #CryingLeBron, which referred to the Kermit the Frog tea-sipping image with the hashtag "#tealizard" (shown below, left). That day, the post was widely mocked by other Twitter users, including Vine comedian Victor Pope Jr. (shown below, right). In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the Crying LeBron meme, including Quartz, US Weekly, Cosmopolitan, E! News, UpRoxx and Complex.
 Cosmopolitan – The 14 Most Hilarious Crying LeBron Memes From Last Night