Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan delivered an emotional tribute to the late Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles on Monday, joking — as tears streamed down his face — that he would create a new “Crying Michael Jordan” meme.
Michael Jordan laughs through tears, during his moving tribute to Kobe Bryant: “I’ll have to look at another crying meme for the next…” pic.twitter.com/sw857WZVRX
— Joel B. Pollak (@joelpollak) February 24, 2020
Jordan, who won six NBA championships with the Bulls, competed long enough to face Bryant on the court with the Lakers. He spoke passionately about Bryant’s devotion to his family, to his community, and to becoming the best basketball player he could possibly be.
And he managed to smile, telling a joke at his own expense. “I’ll have to look at another crying meme for the next …” he began, to laughter.
The “Crying Michael Jordan” meme is a popular animated graphic, based on a photo of Jordan in tears as he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2009.
As NPR explained in 2016:
The meme of the basketball legend’s tear-stained countenance is the sports world’s go-to symbol of sadness in defeat, so expect to see at least a few renditions of Jordan’s watery mug superimposed onto losing players, losing fans, losing mascots, losing coaches, or anyone or anything else who is at all associated with a loss.
Jordan, who also played for the Washington Wizards and is a controlling owner in the Charlotte Hornets in his native North Carolina, managed to keep his composure despite the tears.
The Staples Center was packed for the star-studded memorial tribute to Bryant and to his daughter, Gianna, 13.
The eulogies included a moving tribute from Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, who praised his devotion as a husband and father.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.