Crying Michael Jordan is a photoshop meme based on a cutout image of former professional basketball player Michael Jordan crying during his 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech. Online, the image of the tearful Jordan has been frequently used by sports fans to convey sadness in reaction to the defeat of their favorite teams.
On September 11th, 2009, Jordan gave a speech during his Basketball Hall of Fame induction in Springfield, Massachusetts. Throughout the speech, Jordan repeatedly cried while retelling various anecdotes about his career (shown below).
On November 7th, 2014, The Coli Forums member At30wecashout submitted a post featuring various Michael Jordan crying examples. On February 3rd, 2015, Nike Forums member Nelson999 submitted a thread titled ''Official MJcry GIF & Img thread.'' On March 4th, the MJSadFaces Tumblr blog was launched, which highlights notable examples of the photoshop meme. On March 23rd, the pop culture blog Complex published an article about the crying face images. The same day, the news and entertainment site TeaBreakfast published a compilation of crying Michael Jordan animated GIFs (shown below).
On October 16th, the Huffington Post released a printable paper mask of the Jordan crying face (shown below).
Michael Jordan's Response
On February 9th, TMZ reported that Michael Jordan is aware of the popularity of the meme and he is okay with people using his image for fun, as long as it doesn't get repurposed for commercial interests. On the following day, The Chicago Tribune also reported that the legendary NBA athlete "has taken notice of the viral trend," citing an email statement from Jordan's spokesperson Estee Portnoy.
"I don't recall when we first started noticing it -- everything explodes so quickly on the Internet, and suddenly it was everywhere. Everyone seems to be having fun with the meme, and it just keeps going. We haven’t seen anyone using it to promote their commercial interests, which is something that we’re monitoring."
On May 11th, TMZ published an interview with former Chicago Bulls player Charles Oakley, who responded "nah, he don't like it" when asked about Jordan's opinion of the exploitable image (shown below).
In mid-April 2016, artists Sherman Winfield and Andrew Weiss launched the "Crying Kicks" Tumblr blog, highlightng photographs of a pair of Air Jordan sneakers with the Crying Michael Jordan face embroidered on the tongue of the shoe (shown below).
Ja Rule's Tweet
On May 9th, 2016, rapper Ja Rule posted a tweet speculating that Michael Jordan get's $1 every time a Crying Michael Jordan meme gets posted on the Internet (shown below). That day, the tweet was deleted.
Presidential Medal of Freedom
On November 22nd, 2016, President Barack Obama gave out the Presidential Medal of Freedom to several notable people, including Michael Jordan. In a humorous speech, Obama referred to Jordan as "The guy from Space Jam" and also made reference to the Crying Jordan meme.
A photograph of Jordan crying as Obama delivered the speech led to a revival of Crying Jordan photoshops using Jordan himself.
On March 31st, 2018, University of Loyola-Chicago lost to the University of Michigan in the Final Four (semi-final) round of the 2018 NCAA College Basketball Championship Tournament. During the tournament, the team had been notably supported by 98-year old chaplain of the team, Sister Jean. Jean had gained national attention during the tournament for sitting courtside and cheering on the team, who was a heavy underdog in the tournament.
After the team's loss to Michigan, many photoshops giving Sister Jean a Crying Jordan face began appearing on Twitter. Sportswriter Darren Rovell posted such an image, gaining over 4,700 retweets and 11,000 likes (shown below, left). Parody account @B1ackSchefter did the same, gaining over 3,500 retweets and 7,400 likes (shown below, right).
Kobe Bryant Speech
On February 24th, 2020, Jordan began crying while delivering a tribute to deceased professional basketball player Kobe Bryant, and jokingly blamed Bryant for causing him to accidentally create another Crying Jordan meme (shown below).
Michael Jordan jokes about the Crying Jordan meme pic.twitter.com/9KpSdSg3qg— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 24, 2020
 The Huffington Post – Heres a Cutout Michael Jordan Crying Face Halloween Mask