When ESPN opted to showcase a game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks as part of a doubleheader on Thursday night, the Worldwide Leader in (Shoving Reporters) Sports was banking on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade co-starring in the prime time game.
They didn't get that. Instead, they got a triple overtime tilt without a minute played by the two injured Miami stars. But, more than making up for it, they also got Ivan Johnson.
Yes, that Ivan Johnson. Oh, wait, you're not familiar with the 27-year-old rookie power forward? That's OK. Heat forward Chris Bosh had never heard of him before the game either.
Here are several statements about Johnson. Some of these are honest-to-Oakley true. The rest? Not so much.
Ivan Johnson has been an extra in The Wire.
Ivan Johnson is banned from the Korean basketball league forever.
Ivan Johnson is the only person permitted to refer to Metta World Peace by his former name, Ron Artest.
Ivan Johnson was benched by his team in the D-League for getting too many technical fouls.
Ivan Johnson was recently released from prison.
Ivan Johnson has diamond teeth.
Ivan Johnson has Reggie Miller's permission to date his sister, Cheryl.
Ivan Johnson will autograph your bald head if you come to his game wearing a fake beard.
Not quite as easy to separate Ivan Johnson fact from Ivan Johnson fan fiction is it? Such is the wonder of Ivan Johnson, who must always be referred to by his full name. Ivan Johnson has worn the uniforms of at least four colleges, a Korean team, a D-League club and, at long last, the Atlanta Hawks. Of course, it's entirely possible that he made the Hawks team out of camp because none of the coaches were brave enough to inform him that he'd been cut.
From the moment that Johnson first checked into the game, fans were mesmerized by this unheralded first-year NBA player with a stone-cut demeanor straight out of Compton, a beard from Amish country, and a lunch pail game that would have fit in with the elbows and head butt style of the 1990s Knicks.
The resulting Twitter frenzy surrounding the rugged looking Johnson was likely the very reason that Al Gore invented this beautiful series of tubes. Here are some of the funniest Ivan Johnson tweets from his triple OT introduction.