Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people made their way to streaming sites to participate in the memorial celebration in honor of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven others who were killed during the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26. A cloud of somberness appeared to hover of many, as they witnessed those who loved the NBA great and his daughter, memorialize them at the Staples Center Monday afternoon. However, despite the sorrowful temperament, NBA champions Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal offered some comedic relief that not only those in the arena needed, but social media users benefitted from as well.
Jordan, the six-time champion and former Chicago Bulls shooting guard who referred to Kobe as his “little brother,” was unable to fight tears while reflecting on their relationship and the moments they shared. Through those tears, however, MJ referred to him becoming a viral meme when he cried at the podium during his enshrinement ceremony into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
“Now I’m going to have to look at another crying meme for the next …..,” Jordan said with tears running down his face. “I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this because I didn’t want to see it for the next three or four years. That is what Kobe Bryant does to me.”
The audience immediately laughed, and those sitting in front of their computer at home or work did as well.
“I’m dead y’all Michael Jordan crying as he giving his speech about Kobe, and then he gone stop and say ‘now Kobe got me out here about to be another meme’. But whole time I was like damn MJ need some tissue, before he become a meme,” one Twitter user said.
Another wrote, “Soo #MichaelJordan joking about how Kobe’s death has given his ‘crying meme’ fans new material… we all NEEDED that laugh. In fact this is prob the most human (and funny) I’ve ever seen Jordan. Their friendship ran deeper than we realized. #KobeFarewell #KobeMemorial.”
Shaq provided another laugh while sharing an anecdote about Kobe, essentially, being a ball hog. Apparently, their fellow Los Angeles Lakers teammates were complaining about Kobe not passing the ball, so Shaq volunteered to speak with him about it.
Shaq recounted saying to Kobe, “Kobe, there’s no ‘I’ in team.” He then said Kobe replied, “I know. But there’s an ‘M-E’ in that motherfucker.”
Another laugh that was much needed.
Check out more reactions to the comedic relief below.