via Getty

On the back of a glorious career, Michael Jordan cemented his legacy as one of the most influential athletes ever. However, the funny folks of the internet immortalize His Airness with memes. From the ‘Crying Jordan’ to everything The Last Dance produced, the NBA legend has natural meme-able quality. He acknowledged it himself once and doesn’t mind his relevance as a living supplier of hilarious Internet content. But there is one meme that gave him sort of a questionable reputation.

That is the Michael Jordan ‘F**k them kids‘ meme. Though the meme is rooted in a fallacy, there was an instance where the infamous meme may have applied. So where did it come from? Paging Internet historians everywhere!

Going Behind Michael Jordan’s infamous meme


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Michael Jordan’s career pre-dated social media but his timelessness has remained thanks to meme culture. His 2009 Hall of Fame acceptance speech was immortalized forever in the ‘Crying Jordan’ meme. One underrated MJ meme, though, is the infamous ‘F**k them kids’ meme.

The meme typically features a sentimental-esque black-and-white portrait of Jordan with the phrase across his face. The generic phrase is used on the Internet without malice to poke fun at kid shenanigans. No such situation applied to Jordan’s meme.

via Imago

Spoiler alert: Jordan never said “f**k them kids.” At least not in public. This came up in a completely contrasting situation in 2016. He was at a kids’ basketball camp for charity with Chris Paul, where they set a challenge. If His Airness could not hit more three-pointers than CP3, the entire camp of kids would get free Air Jordans.

Though a generous offer, Mike’s a competitive guy. The legend who was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice gave Paul no quarter. He won and that meant no new shoes for Paul’s camp kids. This would be the basis for the meme two years later.

The video resurfaced in 2018 when one Twitter user created the Jordan version of the meme to complement it. Since then, the meme has been remixed and reused in many situations over and over.

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The phrase would also have other celebrity versions, including Russell Westbrook and President Joe Biden memes. But it remains popularly adopted. It once applied to a real situation with Jordan.

The time Michael Jordan made some kids sad

ESPN dragged the ‘Crying Jordan‘ meme into the GOAT debate too. The ‘f**k them kids’ meme got buried in an influx of new memes from ‘Meme Jordan’ recently. But in 2020, when the meme cropped up, there was an incident that got Jordan some flak.


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Jordan ran into some young fans while out and about in 2022. They asked, “Can we get a picture?” and Jordan replied, “No.” MJ received a lot of flak for his inconsiderate behavior. He never addressed the situation but social media denizens had a lot of reactions to it. And yes, the ‘f**k them kids’ image popped up several times too.

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