Isiah Thomas joyfully hoists Crying Jordan sign after Indiana beats UNC

(1989 photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

On Wednesday night at Assembly Hall, Indiana alumnus Isiah Thomas and former Hoosiers men's basketball teammates were honored for their 1981 NCAA National Championship, which culminated with a 63-50 victory over North Carolina.

The ceremony coincided with No. 13 Indiana's contest against No. 3 North Carolina — a 76-67 upset by the Hoosiers that gave UNC its first loss of the young season. After the big win, Thomas stopped by the student section where he got his hands on a giant cutout of Crying Jordan, leading to this portrait of a man experiencing sheer and utter joy (via Reddit user Chibooms):

Why's Zeke so happy? Well it was a big win of course, but there's no love lost between Hall of Famers Jordan and Thomas, stemming from the rivalry between the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons and the early '90s Chicago Bulls. And there's also Thomas' omission from the legendary Dream Team (1992), which may have resulted from Jordan using his clout to freeze out Thomas. In his 2012 book Dream Team, Sports Illustrated writer Jack McCallum quotes Jordan as telling Team USA selection committee member Rod Thorn, “Rod, I don’t want to play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.”

Jordan doesn't want anyone using Crying Jordan for commercial interests and according to former teammates isn't fond of the meme in general. Isiah's mug with Jordan's teary face in his hands probably will not be well-received by His Airness.


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