One of the most important people in world history, the inventor of the gif, Stephen Willheit, passed away last week.
That guy gave more to sports highlights and the Internet than he’ll ever realize. He changed the Internet, social media, and group chats forever. There’s nothing better than a well placed gif in a group chat. Or when you’re watching a game and you instantly realize that is a meme like “Mare from Havertown” at the Linc:
“Although GIFs are synonymous with animated internet memes these days, that wasn’t the reason Wilhite created the format. CompuServe introduced them in the late 1980s as a way to distribute “high-quality, high-resolution graphics” in color at a time when internet speeds were glacial compared to what they are today.”
We can also put the “jif” vs “gif” debate to rest. Let the creator set the record straight:
“While there have been long-standing debates about the correct pronunciation of the image format, Wilhite was very clear on how he intended for it to be said. In 2013, he told The New York Times, “The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.”
The best Philly sports gifs of all time: