The Crying Michael Jordan meme has been a staple of the internet for years, but now Jordan is getting the last laugh.
The basketball legend got his new shot at internet stardom thanks to a moment on Sunday night’s episode of the ESPN documentary, The Last Dance. In the show, which documents Jordan’s push for a sixth championship with the Chicago Bulls, the producer hands Jordan a tablet to show him a clip of former Seattle SuperSonics point guard Gary Payton claiming that he tired Jordan out during the 1996 NBA Finals with relentless coverage.
Jordan watched Payton relay his claim and then broke into laughter, cracking up laughing at Payton’s apparent belief that he had worn down the NBA star.
It was a truly stunning and funny moment from the normally stoic Jordan and one that even stunned the film’s director. “I expected him to defer to a poker face. And to maybe say, off-camera, ‘Hey, you know, I wanted to laugh out loud when I saw Gary Payton saying that‘,” director Jason Hehir told Vanity Fair about the moment that he calls “documentary gold”. “If you listen in the mix, you can hear the camera crew laughing, because part of it is just the humor of watching him respond the way he responds.”
Now, Jordan’s response and his sudden uproarious laughter has become the internet’s new favorite reaction GIF with people using the sports icon’s unstoppable laughter to express their feelings about everything from sports to life to romance and everything in between.
— Brett Molina (@brettmolina23) May 11, 2020
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) May 11, 2020
— Eli Hershkovich (@EliHershkovich) May 11, 2020
— Very Ape (@DapperKwitz) May 12, 2020
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) May 11, 2020