The Jordan Cry Face Meme Was Never Particularly Funny, And We Need To Retire It


There was a four to six month stretch in 2004 where I probably ate a Quinzos sub somewhere between four to 14 times a week. It was a relatively new franchise then. (At least new to Pittsburgh.) And I was so excited by the various meats and toasted breads and assembly line convection oven way of showing you how the breads were being toasted that I exalted it as the anti-Subway, gleefully sprinting there after work to chomp down 2.3 ounces of whatever they were trying to convince me was angus steak.


And then one day I just got tired of it. For no reason in particular. I just had enough. And I haven’t stepped foot inside a Quinzos in the 12 years since.

On Monday, the Villanova Wildcats beat the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the national championship with perhaps the most dramatic buzzer beater I’ve ever seen in a high profile championship game. And, after considering the legitimately batshit shot by Marcus Paige to tie the game, it culminated what was unquestionably the best last minute of a championship game I’ve ever seen.

It also represented Peak Jordan Cry Face Meme, as there will never be another moment where use of that meme will be more appropriate. You had UNC, Jordan’s alma mater. You had a basketball game that UNC lost in a historically heart-breaking manner. And you had Michael Jordan in the actual crowd. Of course, the internet took this baton and ran with it, as that night and the following day produced the best Jordan Cry Face memes and jokes we’ve ever seen.

Which is why we need to retire it now.

Full disclosure: I never felt like the Jordan Cry Face Meme was particularly funny. I get why some people believe it to be. And I get why using the face of the ultra competitive and cutthroat Michael Jordan during an emotional moment — his Hall of Face induction speech — works in a way other cry faces wouldn’t. (For instance, a Drake Cry Face Meme would just be a Drake Meme.) Also, it's no secret now that the once universally beloved Jordan is actually a bit of an asshole, and that his face is the center of the internet's most popular joke is a bit of schadenfreude. But, I always felt like it signified “funny” more than it actually created and/or elicited any humor. Almost like a person drawing "LAUGH AT THIS. HA HA." in block letters on a poster instead of doing something to make you laugh. It's the sympathy frown on a sad Facebook status of humor. (However, I am always very impressed by the creativity behind some of them.)

And retiring it now would be a perfect end to a joke that the internet has effectively pile-driven to the center of the Earth. The reaction to UNC's loss has mined the little bit of humor left in it completely out of it. It's all gone. Any use of it now would be post-Peak. Hopping over an already jumped shark. The joke equivalent of walking into a Quiznos today.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Brandon Allen

Somebody put MJ crying face on Damon.