TIME White House

President Obama Pokes Fun at Michael Jordan Over Crying Meme and Space Jam

NBA star Jordan and musician Springsteen attend Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at White House in Washington
Carlos Barria—Reuters NBA star Michael Jordan and musician Bruce Springsteen attend the Presidential Medal of Freedom awards in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Nov. 22, 2016.

"He's more than just a logo, more than just an Internet meme"

President Barack Obama on Tuesday poked fun at Michael Jordan while bestowing the legendary athlete and 20 other Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients with the nation’s highest civilian honor.

While praising Jordan, Obama said the basketball great is “more than just a logo, more than just an Internet meme,” in reference to the popular image of Jordan crying. He also mentioned the 1996 hit movie Space Jam, which Jordan starred in among a set of Looney Tunes cartoon characters.

“Today, we celebrate extraordinary Americans who have lifted our spirits, strengthened out union, pushed us towards progress,” Obama said. “I always love doing this event, but this is a particularly impressive class. We’ve got innovators and artists … public servants, rabble rousers, athletes, renowned character actors, like the guy from Space Jam.”

The Space Jam and meme comments prompted laughter from the crowd and from Jordan himself.

Other honorees included Robert DeNiro, Cicely Tyson, Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Ellen DeGeneres, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Vin Scully and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


YOU BROKE TIME.COM!

Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team