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Kobe Bryant Statue: Heartbroken Stephen A. Smith Brings Michael Jordan’s Viral Meme to Light in Mamba Tribute

Published 02/08/2024, 3:08 AM EST

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The unveiling of Kobe Bryant‘s bronze statue by the Los Angeles Lakers is a small token of tribute to the basketball legend who, in many ways, became synonymous with the franchise and the city. Certainly, the statue holds an emotional place in the hearts of both devoted fans and those closest to the player. While the trending clips have seen Bryant’s former teammates reminisce about their shared moments, others are heart-touching comments from fans. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith also shared his heartfelt emotions using Michael Jordan’s iconic meme, ahead of the statue unveiling.

Remembering the late legend, Smith shared, “Our hearts still ache for what transpired, for losing those lives. But obviously Kobe Bryant, to the basketball lovers, to the champions everywhere, stands out in our minds. It’s why we saw that Meme and still see that Meme of Michael Jordan crying. It still hurts.”

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Jordan’s “Crying image” from his Basketball Hall of Fame night in September 2009 quickly went viral and was used to portray heartbreaking moments and defeats. The 6x NBA champion even joked about it during his heartrending speech at Bryant’s memorial.

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At the memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Jordan was visibly heartbroken and devastated as he delivered his eulogy. Throughout the heartfelt tribute speech, Jordan couldn’t control his tears as he shared numerous stories of Kobe.

Michael Jordan mentioned his “Crying Jordan” meme in his eulogy

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Tearing up, Jordan even mentioned the infamous “crying Jordan” meme. “Now he’s got me. I’m going to have to look at another crying meme. That is what Kobe Bryant does to me,” said Jordan.

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The meaningful relationship between Jordan and Bryant was more like that of a mentor and mentee. The 5x champion often shared how his brother and friend, Jordan, always helped and guided him. For Jordan, Bryant was just a curious kid with a lot of questions. However, before he knew it, Bryant started to grow on him.

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From giving valuable advice to sharing tips on basketball at 3 am, Jordan always appreciated the Black Mamba. The Chicago Bulls legend ended his speech with his heartwarming words, “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died. Please, rest in peace, little brother.” Fans will be able to get a closer look at the statue following its unveiling on February 8th.

READ MORE: Hollywood Legend Jackie Chan’s Viral Clip Draws Shaquille O’Neal-Like Response From Kobe Bryant’s Wife Vanessa

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Written by:

Pritha Debroy

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My love for basketball kicked off with the Portland Trail Blazers. The team's spirit, their thrilling plays, and the dedicated fan base had me hooked from the get-go. Now, I'm all about blending my passion for the game with my love for writing.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth