• Newsfeed

The Best Memes of Crying Athletes, Ranked

2 minute read

For better or worse, the Internet wastes no time in capitalizing on the emotions of athletes. This proved to be the case for Argentina’s Lionel Messi, the veritable GOAT of international soccer, when his tears after a heart-breaking loss to Chile in the Copa America championship quickly went viral, placing him in the ranks of other athletes whose crying moments have become legendary memes.

The “Crying Jordan” meme of Michael Jordan at his 2009 induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame has become a ubiquitous sight on sports Twitter, but other crying athletes have quickly joined him as the Internet’s favorite way to express the full range of human emotions.

From Messi to Jordan, we’ve rounded up the most memorable crying athlete memes of all time, below.

Lionel Messi, Copa America Championship, 2016

Messi’s highly emotional moment after Argentina’s loss to Chile during the Copa America championship will be one for the books — especially since Messi hinted at his retirement after the match.

LeBron James, NBA Playoffs, 2016

After Cleveland’s number one son ended the drought for his city with a long-promised championship, his crying face was hailed as the new “Crying Jordan.”

Although, teammate and shirtless wonder J.R. Smith‘s emotional moment after the game gave King James a good run for his money.

Tom Brady, The Brady 6, 2011

The beloved Patriots quarterback shed copious tears during an interview in the documentary, The Brady 6, while recalling the 2000 NFL Draft, where he was selected in the 6th round. The footage of him crying has made countless rounds on the web, especially during the “Deflategate” controversy.

Tim Tebow, SEC Championship, 2009

Tebow’s famous ugly-cry after Florida’s major loss to Alabama was probably only upstaged on the Internet by “Tebowing.”

Michael Jordan, Basketball Hall of Fame induction, 2009

Jordan’s famous speech has given us the greatest meme of all time, featuring the greatest basketball player of all time. With this much raw emotion, it’s no wonder that Jordan has become the face of feelings on the Internet.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com