Michael Jordan‘s crying face has become such a powerful shorthand for the agony of defeat—Photoshopped onto anyone who loses, fucks up, or gets sad—that it’s easy to forget he was the greatest NBA player of all time and a winner of six championships (and that he was crying at his 2009 Hall of Fame induction ceremony, not exactly a low moment). Could LeBron James‘ crying face as he won his own third finals become the meme that signifies the opposite—victory so glorious it brings one to tears?
He brought it home. pic.twitter.com/zp7Er43hEd— ESPN (@espn) June 20, 2016
The image is certainly off to a good start after LeBron’s Cavaliers came back from a three-games-to-one deficit to beat Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors and cement a championship run on Sunday night.
ADRIAN!!!!!!!— Jamal (@JamalJimoh) June 20, 2016
When u r drunk and Landslide comes on pic.twitter.com/63FB4IZZug— Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) June 20, 2016
Someone put LeBron's crying face onto Jordan during his speech pic.twitter.com/cRwLc3ZnQU— Eric Rosenthal (@ericsports) June 20, 2016
But for Crying Lebron to become the newest “That Feel When,” it might have to be stripped of its original context—the greatest and most dramatic victory of LeBron’s career, his first championship for Cleveland. The strength of the Crying Jordan meme, according to some astute observers, is that no one even remembers why Jordan was crying.
also the lebron pic is not going to be the new crying jordan. the reason crying jordan is funny is bc no one remembers why he was crying— doreen st. félix (@dstfelix) June 20, 2016
The reason for LeBron’s tears is an historic one, in NBA terms, the kind of thing that gets replayed on ESPN for decades.
But the only rule of memes is that the rules are always changing. What’s to stop the Crying LeBron face from representing a specific win and the general idea of elation at winning? Or even, like the Crying Jordan, a profound sadness?
Lebron crying face is definitely about to take over.. RIP to the MJ crying face. pic.twitter.com/ehQGe13va8— Clay (@ClayFWarner) June 20, 2016
Also, we get the feeling LeBron wouldn’t mind being a meme as much as Jordan allegedly does—he’s halfway there already.
LeBron's hat is Kermit sipping tea. The man is a damn saint. pic.twitter.com/k2HkD0sRCk— Andrew Hammond (@ahammTNT) June 20, 2016