Internet Nostalgia

Let’s Revisit the Crying Jordan Meme

Does anyone remember what Jordan was crying about?

Will Leitch
5 min readJul 9, 2021


Welcome to part 19 of our Internet Nostalgia series, which looks back at phenomena that captured the internet’s imagination and attention for a fleeting moment and then vanished as everyone moved on to something else. This series looks back at those olden times and what they told us about the internet and ourselves. If you have a suggested topic, email me at Last week: Snakes on a Plane. This week: The Crying Jordan meme.

When: 2009-present.

The Story: Michael Jordan may be the greatest basketball player of all time — though I’ll confess to tilting toward the LeBron James camp myself — and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, alongside David Robinson and future-vaccine-denier John Stockton. Jordan was famously an intense, almost sociopathic competitor during his playing career, and there was a hope that, during his Hall of Fame speech, he would look back at his career with perspective and magnanimity.

This is not what Michael Jordan did in his 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame speech. Jordan took the opportunity to settle scores, to belittle those he found beneath him, even to mock his own children for not being as good at basketball as he was. If you’ve never actually watched the speech, you can watch it here. If you like Michael Jordan — and who doesn’t like Michael Jordan? — I would argue that you should not watch it, because it will absolutely make you like him less.

As then-Yahoo, now-ESPN superstar NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski wrote afterward:

This wasn’t a Hall of Fame induction speech, but a bully tripping nerds with lunch trays in the school cafeteria. He had a responsibility to his standing in history, to players past and present, and he let everyone down. This was a night to leave behind the petty grievances and past slights — real and imagined. This was a night to be gracious, to be…



Will Leitch

I write about these tumultuous times 2x a week. Author of five books, including “How Lucky.” NYMag/MLB.. Founder, Deadspin.

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