The photo of a crying Michael Jordan, overcome with emotion at the extended standing ovation he received during his Hall of Fame speech in 2009, has lived well beyond its humble roots. While we didn’t start to see the face of the greatest basketball player of all time photoshopped onto basically anybody who had a reason to be sad about anything ever (losing the World Series, losing the Iowa Caucus, having your interest in butt-stuff exposed on Twitter, etc.) until early 2015, at this point, the meme has grown downright unstoppable.
But the exact moment the meme was made for was last night, when Michael Jordan’s alma mater, the University of North Carolina, lost a last-second heartbreaker in the NCAA Championship to Villanova–while Michael Jordan was in attendance.
Jordan’s journey from “greatest NBA player who ever lived” to “global brand with cache even among kids who have never drawn breath at the same time Jordan was an active athlete” to “the guy from that sad meme” has been a powerful exercise in what the Internet can do to a person’s legacy for no good reason at all except that it’s funny. And while Jordan himself is probably not super psyched about it (his sons have learned to accept it, at least), it would make a hell of a subject for a gifted storyteller. And in what may be peak Crying Jordan meme, Twitter user @YoungQwan immediately followed up UNC’s defeat and the Internet’s gleeful schadenfreude last night with a fake trailer for a 30 for 30 documentary called The Greatest Cry, which we–and everybody else on Twitter, most likely–would definitely watch if it were airing on ESPN tonight. It’s hard to imagine where the Crying Jordan meme goes from here, if only because photoshopping his face onto whoever loses the Wisconsin primary or got killed in the season finale of The Walking Dead or whatever is gonna be pretty anticlimactic after this–but if the Crying Jordan meme is dying out, then the 30 for 30 trailer ought to be its viking funeral.