Michael Jordan Jokes About 'Crying Jordan' Meme During Kobe Memorial
Michael Jordan has joked about his crying meme while giving a speech at Kobe and Gianna Bryant's memorial.
Hundreds have packed into Los Angeles' Staples Center to bid farewell to basketball legend Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter after they died in a helicopter crash last month.
While the atmosphere was understandably sombre at Staples Center, Jordan lightened the mood with a joke at his own expense.
"Now he's got me- I'm going to have to look at another crying meme." - Michael Jordan #KobeFarewell pic.twitter.com/OHnxIR2CRm
- Complex (@Complex) February 24, 2020
He told the crowd: "Now [Kobe's] got me - I'm going to have to look at another crying meme for the next.
"I told my wife I wasn't going to do this because I didn't want to see that for the next three or four years. That is what Kobe Bryant does to me."
The 57-year-old has been the subject of affectionate mockery ever since he teared up during his induction into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2009, with footage later being turned into an enduring meme.
Jordan also spoke more seriously about his unbreakable bond with Bryant and how upset he had been by news of his fellow player's death.
"He was like a little brother... and I just wanted to be the best big brother I could be," Jordan said.
"When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died."
Jordan then helped Vanessa Bryant, Kobe's wife and Gianna's mother, to the stage for an emotional speech, as she reflected on what the future will be like without part of her family.
She said: "[Gianna] was always thoughtful. She always kissed me good night and kissed me good morning.
"There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri and thought she had left for school without saying goodbye.
"I'd text and say, 'No kiss?' and Gianna would reply, 'Mama, you were asleep and I didn't want to wake you.' She knew how much her kiss meant to me and kissed me every day."
She also lamented that she would not be able to watch her daughter grow up and reach the major milestones of her life.
Vanessa was married to Kobe for 19 years. She took the opportunity to tell those gathered in the arena how much she loved him.
She said: "He was mine. He was my everything. Kobe and I had been together since I was 17.5 years old. I was his first girlfriend, his first love, his wife, his best friend, his confidante and his protector.
"A couple weeks before they passed, Kobe sent me a sweet text and mentioned how he wanted to spend time together. Just the two of us without our kids because I'm his best friend first.
"We never got the chance to do it. We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular everyday responsibilities, but I'm thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me."
Vanessa then concluded her emotional farewell: "God knew they couldn't be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi. I got Nata, Bebe and KoKo.
"We love and miss you, boo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace, have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you forever and always. Mommy."
The seven other passengers who also lost their lives in the crash on Sunday 26 January were basketball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, their daughter Alyssa, Payton Chester, her mother Sarah, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Featured Image Credit: PA