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.
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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
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.”