So many parts of this story amuse us. For the record, we do not believe the impostor was Mookie Blaylock. From the AP (our bold):
An NBA Development League team owner is apologizing for misleading fans who thought Michael Jordan would play in a charity game at the Utah Flash's home opener. Flash owner Brandt Andersen acknowledged sending a Jordan lookalike around town Monday, when supposed "Jordan" sightings and an Internet video of the impostor eating at a local restaurant created buzz that Jordan really was in town.
More than 7,500 fans showed up hoping to see Jordan play 1-on-1 against former Utah Jazz guard Bryon Russell at halftime. The Flash had been pitching the Jordan-Russell rematch since September despite never hearing from Jordan after Andersen issued the first challenge. Andersen maintained he held out hope that Jordan would agree to be part of Monday's promotion. "This was done in fun," Andersen wrote on his blog after the game. "If you did not see it as fun or you feel we went over the top I am sorry."
Andersen said he had always planned to send out a lookalike, complete with bodyguards, into the community. "We wanted to test the strength and effectiveness of viral media by putting him out in Provo with bodyguards, and some hype," he said. "I always assumed it would be uncovered very quickly that it was a hoax."
Fans caught on when the impostor trotted to the court at halftime. They started booing, then leaving.
Seriously? People really thought Michael Jordan was coming? Were there Tweets all day such as "I just saw Michael Jordan at Sensuous Sandwich on West Center!!!" (FYI: We're not really sure which local restaurant the lookalike was eating at, but we really had to mention Sensuous Sandwich when we found out such a place exists in Provo).
Perhaps the overriding lessons from this story are these: 1) Utah fans should not be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to quickly uncovering hoaxes. 2) Utah fans will never forget nor forgive 1998.
Here's video of the unhappy (though very polite!) fans: