Staples Center hosted a memorial ceremony on Monday to honor Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other victims of the Jan. 26 helicopter crash. This was an emotional event that featured many touching speeches. Bryant's wife Vanessa, his former teammate Shaquille O'Neal, and several others spoke during the ceremony while telling stories from Bryant's life.
NBA legend Michael Jordan was one of those that spoke on Monday morning. He took to the stage and revealed that Bryant was like a "little brother" to him and they were very close friends. Jordan also broke down in tears while discussing his relationship with the late NBA icon.
As the former Chicago Bulls star spoke about Bryant, fans on social media reacted with an outpouring of emotion. They were struggling to fight back tears prior to Jordan's speech, but his joke about the "Crying Jordan Meme" was too much to handle.
There were hundreds posting about this speech on social media, writing "Damn, MJ" in response. They laughed at his meme joke, but they also cried due to seeing how much Jordan truly cared for Bryant.
Damn MJ has me balling too. I really shouldn't be watching this at work.— MrsSamanthaAvalos (@Samiej1411) February 24, 2020
The memorial service took place on Feb. 24, 2020, which coincided with the jersey numbers worn by Bryant and Gianna. This meant that many fans were watching the ceremony while they were at work. This was difficult due to the number of tears being shed.
As many on social media pointed out, they shouldn't have watched the memorial while they were trying to work. They were caught off-guard by the speeches and were left crying at their desks.
A Piece of Jordan
If there were ever any uncertainties about Bryant and Jordan's relationship, they were erased during the speech. The former Chicago Bulls star revealed that "a piece of him died" when he learned about the helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
Viewers of the memorial service couldn't believe what they were hearing during Jordan's speech. The way that he referred to Bryant's death was just heartbreaking.
Cancel the Meme
Damn MJ, the goat has somehow managed to cancel out his own crying MJ meme. Only Kobe Bryant had the power do that.— Ryan Boger (@rboger12) February 24, 2020
The Jordan crying meme is something that has been used in recent years to tease fans of sports teams during difficult losses. Prominent figures such as New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and WWE star Ronda Rousey have both been featured in these memes, but now there are questions about whether or not the Crying Jordan face can ever be used again.
With Jordan crying while joking about the meme on Monday, the fans immediately felt a wave of guilt for using it so frequently. There were even some that felt it was time to cancel the meme forever and find some other way to tease those on the losing end of sporting events.
Damn MJ. Had to pull over to the side of the road tolisten to your beautiful & heartfelt love for Kobe. 😢 🙏 #kobememorial— Kevin Weisman (@kevinweisman) February 24, 2020
Monday's celebration of life was expected to be an emotional ceremony, but the fans were unprepared for the level that it reached. Between Vanessa's opening speech and Jordan saying that a piece of him died, the fans just couldn't prevent the tears from falling.
One fan learned that this memorial service made achieving certain tasks far more difficult. They couldn't even make it to work due to the crying in the car. It was safer to pull over.
I don’t know a lot about sports but, yeah... Damn, MJ. https://t.co/ASS4JreoRl— Noodles For President! (@TheGnudz) February 24, 2020
There have been questions in recent weeks about the impact that Bryant made on the city of Los Angeles, as well as the world. The answer was provided during Jordan's speech on Monday morning.
Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman is the guitarist of the punk band The Offspring, and he has been a resident of southern California for his entire life. Noodles may not be a massive sports fan, but even he was left saying "damn, MJ" during the celebration of life.
New Life Goal
Damn, MJ. His speech had me moved. Let's honor those who are no longer here by striving to be the best version of ourselves everyday. Being mindful and extending kindness to all those who cross paths us doesn't cost us thing. Have a blessed Monday. :-) #KobeandGianna https://t.co/cEzEqdb5pP— Dmitrius Garcia (@HouseOfGarcia) February 24, 2020
Some fans saw Jordan's speech and made a promise to never use his meme again. Others pledged to change their day-to-day life after hearing the powerful words on Monday morning.
As one fan wrote on Twitter, now is the perfect time to change the way that strangers and acquaintances alike are treated on a daily basis. They would be making a change in their own life while trying to honor Bryant.
No More Memes
Jordan may have joked about becoming a meme once again after he broke down crying during his speech, but there are some fans that believe this shouldn't happen. The previous memes were created with the goal of having some lighthearted fun, but this was an entirely different situation.
As one fan explained, Jordan did bring some rare laughs to a somber and emotional ceremony. However, this doesn't mean that they have the green light to make a new meme featuring Jordan.
(Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)