Michael Jordan Turns 53 Today, And The Crying Meme Will Surely Be All Over The Internet

Michael Jordan Turns 53, Crying Meme Becomes Halloween Mask

Michael Jordan turns 53 years old today and his alma matter, the University of North Carolina, will be playing against Duke University. Mike Krzyzewski, legendary head coach for Duke, was trying to recruit Michael back in the 1980s and though Jordan rejected the offer and chose UNC, Krzyzewski still wrote him a nice and complimentary letter, reports Elite Daily.

“Dear Mike, I am sorry to hear that you no longer have an interest in learning more about Duke University, however I do want you to know that my staff and I wish you the very best in your college career. You are a fine young man and you should make an immediate impact on whatever you choose. Take care, and best of luck.”

The Duke Blue Devils will be playing against the North Carolina Tar Heels at 6:00 p.m. and will be shown by ESPN and ESPN3. Their rivalry is a unique one, and it would be quite a victory if Duke were able to win the game on Michael Jordan’s birthday.

Michael Jordan may yet again be seeing the crying Michael Jordan meme if Duke loses tonight. This image was first taken in September of 2009 when Michael Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Racked with emotion, the legendary basketball player became filled with tears, a vulnerable moment that was rarely ever seen from Jordan. Not only has the crying meme become a Halloween mask, but it has been used endlessly on social media, attached to losers of sporting events. It’s one of the most popular memes floating around the internet.

“We own the rights in our photo, which was taken in 2009,” Paul Colford, spokesman for the Associated Press, wrote in an email to ESPN. “We could enforce those rights depending on the use and other factors, as is the case with all AP photos.”

However, ESPN argues that a lot of creative uses of copyrighted material in this country are legal, operating under the principle of fair use, which is outlined in Section 107 of the Copyright Law of 1976. People can use the picture in any number of different ways, which means that anyone getting in legal trouble over using the original picture probably is not likely.

“The United States has the strongest copyright law in the world,” Renee Hobbs, founder and director of the University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab, said. “But we also have strong protection for users. It’s a fundamental point. Fair use is important to the balance of the copyright law.”

The creative result of altering the picture, transforming it into one of these silly memes, allows the final result to also be copyrighted. At the moment of creation, the work is copyrighted. According to Hobbs, “it’s very situational and contextual.” The crying Michael Jordan meme isn’t really illegal since it is a transformative and creative use of the original source, Hobbs says. If anyone were to use the image to promote any sort of commercial material, then a lawsuit could be brought up and that is something AP is keeping a close eye on.

In Michael Jordan’s life and basketball career, the number 53 is actually pretty special. He started 53 games with the Washington Wizards during the 2001-02 season. On March 7, 1996, Michael scored a total of 53 points, the most points ever scored at the United Center at that time.

In June 2010, Forbes ranked Michael Jordan as the 20th-most powerful celebrity in the world, having earned $55 million between June 2009 and June 2010, and Jordan Brand generates $1 billion in sales for Nike. In the summer of 2014, Jordan was named the first NBA player to become a billionaire, after increasing his stake in the Charlotte Hornets. The next year, Michael Jordan was honored with the Charlotte Business Journal‘s Business Person of the Year for 2014. As of November 2015, his current net worth was estimated at around $1.1 billion.

[Photo by Jordan Brand via Getty Images]