When a meme means more

Minutes after TMZ broke the news of Kobe Bryant’s death in a tragic helicopter crash, Twitter erupted into collective mourning. Words of respect, timeless photographs and favorite memories filled the feeds of many across the platform, but one video in particular came up most across the board—a clip of Kobe talking basketball with his young daughter Gigi who also perished in the crash. This video, which also became a GIF, came to represent Kobe’s fatherly love, and when ESPN anchor Elle Duncan shared her touching story of Kobe’s love for being a girl dad the GIF grew to mean even more.

Though meme’s are regularly spread in a comical fashion, they’ve grown beyond the restraints of comedy to represent even more. A meme, which is defined as a captioned photo or video that spreads culture, can be used to share arguments, opinions and cultural commentary. In the case of Kobe and his daughter, meme’s can be serious in their representation of love, grief and pride. They are a way for his fans to connect with him while also sharing their admiration of his pride in being a girl dad. Meme’s are also an effective means for one to make an argument. Take the photo below:

In this meme, the user makes an argument on behalf of Kobe Bryant’s greatness. Along with the statistics, the user includes the caption: “Greatest 4 game stretch in NBA history.” He uses the stats to back up his claim in the caption, asserting the greatness of Kobe Bryant. This type of meme is popular amongst sports Twitter pages and are often used in making arguments for and against particular players. As memes can spread humor, they are just as great a means for making an argument, sharing an opinion, and paying homage to a legend.

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