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Original Issue

His Face Is Out There

For one 'Bama fan, Support your team is just an expression

Alabama freshman Jack Blankenship has become one of the most recognizable figures in college hoops this season by forgoing the body paint and showing his school spirit by waving a cardboard cutout image of his own, er, distinctive mug at Crimson Tide games.

"Seeing something so intimidatingly bizarre really strikes fear in the heart" of opposing teams, explains Blankenship, who has become known as The Face for the prop he debuted at Alabama's Feb. 4 home game against Ole Miss, waving it whenever a Rebel player went to the line.

A video of the two-faced fun was posted on YouTube and within a day had 5,000 hits. After it appeared in the background of a photo in The Birmingham News, The Face went viral—and Blankenship went national, appearing on the Today show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. So, just how distracting is The Face? At a Knicks-Nets game at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 20, New Jersey shot 90% from the free throw line in the first half. But with The Face in their faces in the second half—Blankenship, in a Jeremy Lin jersey, stood behind a basket with his prop—the Nets hit just 63.2% of their free throws.

"If the NBA needs an X factor down the stretch," says Blankenship, "I'm willing."