Top 15 Sports Memes That Went Viral In 2016

Welcome to TheSportster Academy you filthy savages, today’s lesson is memes. Now raise your hand if you think a meme didn’t exist a decade ago. Keep your hand raised as we teach you some history. A meme is known as a comedic image, with text, that spreads on a viral scale, but that wasn’t the case when it was first stamped as an official word decades ago. Don’t worry that you got it wrong, TheSportster Academy loves to keep their students on their toes.

With the evolution of the internet going from Web 1.0 to 2.0, we have been blessed with videos, gifs, instant messaging, and even the comedic memes that you see when scrolling through Facebook. That type of meme is called an image macro, but if we take out our time machine and go back to the 20th century, a meme could be considered a symbol, element of culture, or a concept that can spread from one person to the next. They guy who came up with the term meme, Richard Dawkings, said it was a way to explain how cultural information spreads. Well that guy messed up by not cornering the meme market and monopolizing it.

Enough of the history lesson, let’s talk about how awesome it is when you come across a meme that makes you laugh. Facebook wouldn’t be as fun if there wasn’t memes on there. You keep on scrolling and then bam! You just got to share it, link it, and comment on it. For us sports enthusiasts, a sports meme that connects with you can be extra sweet. It can bring up a whole bunch of emotions. Anger, happiness, embarrassment, and sadness are all hallmark emotions after clicking on a great meme.

A lot of these memes have reached thousands and thousands of viewers through different websites. Every sports meme you see on the list was made in 2016. So you might have already seen and others you may not, especially the ones with Michael Jordan crying. We hope you enjoy regardless.

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15 Call Me When We Get There

via imgflip.com

It can be seen as a metaphor for how noncompetitive the first and second round of the NBA playoffs can be. There’s absolute truth that the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t need LeBron James until the Eastern Conference Finals. They swept both the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks in the first two rounds and they might sweep the Toronto Raptors before this article gets published. You can argue that the NBA is watered down and less teams in the league would mean more competitive games. If you do stand by that side of the argument, show this meme to anyone who you’re having that conversation with, because it reeks of the truth.

14 Coming to Fruition

via thedrawplay.com

This meme didn’t particularly go as viral as the others, but it says everything you need to know. After the Carolina Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos at Super Bowl 50, countless memes and photoshopped images came out connecting the Panthers loss to Michael Jordan crying during his Hall of Fame speech. So many images can be found online, it’s absolutely hilarious how right this meme was. Pretty much the internet was shrouded in Cam Newton/Jordan images for a few weeks. It must have sucked to be a Panthers fan after all the hype.

13 A Crisp Punch

via imgflip.com

Do you enjoy seeing a guy flip his bat after a homer? We do, but you know who doesn’t? Rougned Odor and the Texas Rangers. This confrontation stems from MLB’s American League Division Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Rangers last year. Jose Bautista flipped his bat after crushing a home run in the playoffs. The Rangers didn’t forget the disrespect and when the two teams met again this season, well, fireworks happened. Bautista slid hard into second base and Odor didn’t like it. Next thing you know, Odor is landing a punch right on Bautista’s chin. Odor was suspended eight games while Bautista only received one.

12 The Life of an ATL Fan

via onsizzle.com

As we noted in the intro, an image of Michael Jordan crying has been used in thousands of memes, gifs, and photoshopped content. Apologies to the sports fans of Atlanta's professional teams. This meme takes the cake on how horrible the organizations are in a city that has seen success long ago. The Atlanta Falcons, Braves, Hawks, and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are the primary targets in this meme. The Falcons once again failed to have an impact in the league, the Hawks got swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, and the Braves are 9-29 as of May 18th. Yes, we would be crying like Jordan if our favorite teams were that crappy.

11 Double Standards

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Hypocrisy is embedded into our culture, there’s no way around it, whether we realize it or not. Double standards are in every institution, organization, and establishment. This meme basically sums up the relationship between the media, fans, and sports. Cam Newton didn't feel like talking after losing Super Bowl 50, in which he apologized for, but was described as a baby. The head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich, hates talking to the media. His post game interview after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder was pretty epic. He trashed a lot of the reporters, but some people see him as a shining example of how to deal with the media.

10 One MVP to Another

via nbasocial.com

Stephen Curry has been on fire over the past few years. He’s won a championship, earned multiple awards, and broke personal, as well as team records in the NBA. Not even Michael Jordan unanimously won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award, but somehow Curry did this year. Not only did he win MVP, but his team, the Golden State Warriors, went on to have the greatest winning season in the history of basketball, achieving a record of 73-9. Whose record did they beat? None other than Michael Jordan’s 1996 Chicago Bulls record of 72-10. You think Jordan’s mad about Curry breaking his record?

9 A Hype Train Derailed

via sportige.com

Conor McGregor went from being a plumber to one of, if not, the most recognizable athlete in the UFC. You can hate him or love him, but one thing is for certain, he can get people talking about the sport. Leading up to UFC 196, the outspoken McGregor was supposed to fight UFC’s Lightweight Champion, Rafael dos Anjos, but when the champ backed out, McGregor decided to fight Nate Diaz on short notice. Diaz was considered the underdog, but he ended up beating McGregor by rear-naked-choke in the second round. This meme is all about eating that humble pie. McGregor may never fight Diaz again, but we're sure his trash talking won't stop regardless of the loss.

8 Epic Fails

via cbs.com

The internet went into cardiac arrest the night Steve Harvey, host of Miss Universe 2015, announced the runner-up as the winner of the pageant. It was an epic fail and would go down as one of the most embarrassing moments in live television history. A few weeks later, the Minnesota Vikings would lose to the Seattle Seahawks in the first-round of the NFL playoffs. The lost would take form in a botched 27-yard field goal by the Vikings' kicker Blair Walsh. Pretty much everyone thought the Vikings would win because of such an easy field goal, but that wasn’t the case. The timing of the meme couldn’t be more perfect. Don’t worry Viking fans, there’s always next season.


via facebook.com

Who doesn’t love to see Batman slap Robin in the face while reading a comic? Replace the iconic superheroes with the NFL’s Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, sprinkle the word Omaha in there, and you have one great meme. This image came to be after Super Bowl 50, when the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10. To understand the Omaha reference, you need to know Manning is very vocal at the line of scrimmage. He can sniff out a defensive scheme and change the play call to have a better chance at moving the chains. When he yells Omaha, he wants to either hurry up the play or get the defense to jump off sides. Never disrespect the Omaha.

6 Ball Hog or Black Mamba?

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He shot the ball 50 times in the last NBA game of his career. We repeat, 50 times. Kobe became the first player to ever hoist up 50 shots in a game in the modern era of basketball. The twenty-year veteran was always a prolific scorer and when the Los Angeles Lakers were doing terrible, Kobe would have to shoot more than the average player. For his career, he also holds the record for most field goals missed with 14,481. So, can you blame his teammates for wanting the ball? Regardless, Black Mamba walks away third on the all-time scoring list with five NBA championships.

5 Legend vs Legend

via quotesmeme.com

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have one of the greatest rivalries in the history of sports. It’s only fitting that a great rivalry gets a great meme. This image brings it back old school with a knock knock joke at the expense of Brady and the New England Patriots. It started hitting websites after the Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos, 20-18, in the AFC Championship. Brady fans have a lot to be depressed about with his Deflategate suspension, but we at TheSportster would like to turn those frowns upside down. When it comes down to the win/loss record between these two God-like quarterbacks, Brady outperformed Manning, winning 11 of 17 games.

4 Laker Rivals

via hiphopearly.com

This Drake, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal meme made Shaq humorously walk off the set of TNT after Game 6 between the Indiana Pacers and the Toronto Raptors. It involves Drake’s new album, Views, and Kobe carrying Shaq on his back on top of the Staples Center in Los Angeles. There might have been a hint of actual anger in Shaq’s mannerisms when he saw the meme because we know the relationship between Kobe and Shaq is a rocky one. Nevertheless, this meme would make a Kobe fan smile.

3 The Hard Truth

via facebook.com

Sometimes the truth hurts, especially if you’re a Detroit Lions fan. Twice they had a once-in-a-lifetime football player and, twice, that player decided to retire early in their careers. From 1989 to 1998, Sanders racked up 15,269 rushing yards, 5.0 yards per carry and 109 total touchdowns. Johnson finished his career with 11,619 receiving yards, 83 receiving touchdowns from 2007 to 2015. Both players earned multiple awards but never went far in the playoffs. The “Curse of Bobby Layne” (a former Lion who was traded in 1958 and said the team wouldn’t win for 50 years) is still alive and well in Detroit.

2  2. Pimp in Distress

via facebook.com

The meme doesn’t involve a sports player or a sports team, but it combines the elements of the UFC’s video game cover and comedian Katt Williams getting beat up by a middle school student. That’s right, pimp down and in distress. Allegedly after a pick-up soccer game, Katt threw a sucker punch at the kid and the child decided to fight back. The meme does the abnormal situation justice by photoshopping the moment Williams received a headlock and photoshopping it on the cover of EA Sports’ UFC game. Recently, Williams couldn’t stay out of trouble as he has been involved in a court case with a former bodyguard. The plaintiff accused him and others of holding him against his will and assaulting him. Stay classy Williams, stay classy.

1 Manning Family

via tmz.com

Sibling rivalries in sports can be awesome to watch, especially at a professional level. We don’t know what was more important to NFL fans the days after Super Bowl 50, the fact that the Denver Broncos won or the expression on Eli Manning’s face after the game was over. For a long time, the older brother Peyton would be behind the ring count in the Manning family. After Peyton won Super Bowl 50, the ring count stood at two apiece between the brothers. With Peyton retired from football, Eli still has a chance to beat his brother in something and that’s Super Bowl rings.

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