On the court, the month of February belongs to Jeremy Lin. In the stands, the month of February belongs to a University of Alabama freshman named Jackson Blankenship.
Blankenship is the suddenly Internet famous fan immortalized in this photograph (right) by Hal Yeager of The Birmingham News six days ago. In the shot that’s gone around the Internet and back, Blankenship can be seen behind the basket trying to distract the Florida players with an over-sized cutout of his comically contorted face.
But the big-faced, distraction psych-out voodoo dates back even earlier. At one point earlier in the the month, ESPN’s broadcast aired Blankenship’s antics in a game against Ole Miss, even catching a moment in which the then-unnamed student broke character for a split second.
On Monday night, the Lin story and the Blankenship story crossed paths.
With the New Jersey Nets leading the Knicks by four in the second quarter of the game at Madison Square Garden, MSG Network cameras spotted Blankenship in the crowd.
Say this about The Internet: Everyone’s cynical and nasty and snarky and dissociative, but the web has really ramped up the level of joy we can get out of a kid with a piece of poster board. Awesome.
Jackson Blankenship is providing this joy. Because he’s a good sport. Because he’s funny. We’d be glad to see him become the next Rollen “Rainbow Man” Stewart, who famously held up John 3:16 signs at sporting events for years (and is now serving a life sentence for kidnapping).
After all, what better update to the famous fan could there be in these secular times than swapping out the religious freak holding up a sign with a message for the ironic dude holding up his own face?