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The photographer who gave us Crying Jordan had no idea it was a meme
Also, he loves it.
If you frequent the Internet, you’ve seen the infamous Crying Jordan meme. It accompanies moments of disappointment, failure, sadness—any moment where an image of a teary-eyed Michael Jordan would be appropriate. But we wouldn’t have this essential meme without the guy who took the Crying Jordan photo in the first place—Stephan Savoia.
An AP photographer who has been a journalist for over 40 years, Savoia snapped the iconic picture during Jordan’s 2009 Hall of Fame induction speech. Fast forward to seven years later, and the image has become one of the greatest memes of all time. “I get a call from a reporter at the Wall Street Journal,” Savoia explained in an interview with 2 Point Lead. “She said ‘What do you think of the Crying Jordan picture?’”
The WSJ reporter then proceeded to inform Savoia that his picture was viral (and explained what a meme was), which led to his kids looking it up online. “They were aware of it and couldn’t believe that I was the one that shot the picture,” Savoia said. “I mean, that’s pretty funny stuff.”
Too bad Jordan doesn’t care much for the meme, but whatever—the Internet loves it, and so does Savoia, and that’s all that really matters.
Elijah Watson is an internet culture and entertainment reporter. His work has been published by the Daily Beast, Vice, Complex, Bustle, Uproxx, and Okayplayer.