Memes Rule Everything Around Me: ‘The Last Dance’ Spawns The Next Great Michael Jordan Meme

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
Memes Rule Everything Around Me: 'The Last Dance' Spawns The Next Great Michael Jordan Meme
Screengrab via ESPN

Nothing will ever top Crying Jordan, but this new Michael Jordan meme is a welcome addition.

Another month, another Memes Rule Everything Around Me, with our latest installment centered around memes that have come from ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary.

For those that don’t know, The Last Dance offers an unprecedented look into the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls during the team’s 1997-98 season — the season before their sixth championship; the season before Phil Jackson’s departure; and the season before Jordan’s second retirement. So far, four out of the documentary’s 10 parts have aired, and with each episode has come plenty of discussion on social media. Inevitably, within that discussion, a handful of memes have spawned, including this recent one that’s a still image of Jordan looking at a screen exasperated.

The screengrab comes from a scene where Jordan watches Detroit Pistons guard (and his long-hated rival) Isiah Thomas explain why the Pistons left the court after Game 4 of the 1991 playoffs against the Chicago Bulls without shaking hands. Prior to this, the “Bad Boy” Pistons were the heavyweights in the Eastern Conference during the late ’80s, and they got there by being overly physical with their opponents.

“During that period of time, that’s just not how it was passed,” Thomas said. “It just wasn’t. You can go back and look at any of those old games or whatever. When you lost you left the floor.”

In response to Thomas’ comments, Jordan makes the face that has since become a viral sensation and popped up across social media.

Aside from Jordan, former fellow Bulls teammate Dennis Rodman has also become a meme.

In a notable scene from the third part of the documentary, Dennis Rodman breaks down how he mastered the art of rebounding — from having his friends shoot from different distances and parts of the court to watching how professional players released the ball on their shots.

“I’d just sit there and react, react. I just practiced a lot about the angle of the ball and the trajectory of it,” Rodman explained in the scene. “You got a Larry Bird, it’s gonna spin. You got a Magic [Johnson], it’ll maybe spin. When Michael shoot over here, I position myself right there. Now it hit the rim, it’s boom. Click, go back this way. Boom, here, here. Click, go that way. Boom, that way. Click here, this way. So basically I just start learning how to put myself in a position to get the ball.”

It’s the latter half of that quote — “Click, go back this way. Boom, here, here” — that has transformed into a meme, with the clip being used in a number of ways.

And on the topic of Rodman, how could we not highlight the memes that came about amid his 48-hour vacation? The athlete needed a vacation after being promoted to the No. 2 slot on the Bulls while Scottie Pippen was both getting healthy and getting back at Bulls’ management by not playing at the start of the 1997 season. Once Pippen returned, Rodman asked head coach Phil Jackson — who then asked Michael Jordan — if he could take a vacation in the middle of the season. Jackson and Jordan both agreed on a 48-hour vacation, and Rodman went straight to the airport to make his way to Las Vegas.

Rodman proceeded to spend his time in Vegas drinking and partying all night, exhausting the 48-hour time limit Jackson had given him. Ultimately, Jordan had to retrieve him out of a bed with Carmen Electra.

But it wasn’t just the athletes a part of The Last Dance who were made into memes — so were notable fans of the Bulls who appeared in the documentary, like Barack Obama.

In the very first episode of the series, Obama broke down why Jordan’s time with the Bulls from 1984 to 1998 was so important to the city of Chicago.

“When Michael first came to town, I didn’t have money to buy tickets for a Bulls game. Even the discounted ones. Back in the day, I was pretty broke,” he said. “But suddenly you have a sports figure that puts Chicago on the map, and that everybody was able to rally around.”

It wasn’t Obama’s comments that led to him being a meme but what the documentary referred to him as — not the former President of the United States but a “former Chicago resident.”

As The Last Dance continues, it’s likely that it’ll spawn even more memes. But for now it has given us the next great Jordan meme, and even though it definitely doesn’t eclipse the timeless appeal of the Crying Jordan meme, it’s still incredible.

Well, that’s our round-up for this month and, as always, we’ve included some honorable mentions below.

RIP meme legend Ashley “Minnie” Ross who passed away at the age of 34

When Kendrick Lamar gets dropped in the club

Alex Trebek is not a fan of nerdcore hip-hop

We are all Leonardo DiCaprio pointing at something


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