You might not know who James (Junior) Iannotto is, but if you've been on the Internet today, there's at least a decent chance that you've seen his face.
Junior was seen raising hell behind ESPN's broadcast team before the tip of a basketball game between Albany and Stony Brook on Sunday. The GIF and video of his antics have since gone viral, for obvious reasons.
Iannotto, a 21-year-old Computer Engineering major at Stony Brook, is a member of the school's pep band. When he's not tuba-ing the night away, he gets to attend games as just a fan.
Upon watching Junior's performance for the first time I was mesmerized and decided to reach out to him so I could find out more about someone who I think represents everything that is great about college basketball fandom.
When did you first really get into Stony Brook sports?
I first got into Stony Brook sports at the age of 12. Always been a fan of college sports and nothing quite beats having a college five minutes away from home.
What inspired you to create the blown up photo of your face? Were you expecting to sit behind the announcers?
I actually originally was just going to make a face of my friend Ben Resner who is on the team but then I came across that picture of myself and made that one as well. I actually didn't sit by the announcers at all. The producer called me over to be behind the announcers as they did their thing during pregame. They told me to act like I always do but I don't think they were expecting me to scream like that.
Courtesy of James Iannotto
Have you ever been on TV before for your fan antics?
Whenever we have a big game on television I am always on during the broadcast. But on after the broadcast? No.
Did the announcers address you directly at any point while you were screaming at them?
The announcers didn't address me but we did have a laugh afterwards.
Is that a webcam photo you were using?
The photo was actually taken on my cell phone as I was walking through the locker room area in Madison Square Garden as the band walked to our seats for the game against La Salle.
What's your outlook for the basketball team going into the America East tournament? (Stony Brook is currently second in the conference behind Vermont)
I always have high hopes for March Madness. I've had my upsets here and there over the past few years but I love the team and especially coach Steve Pikiell. They actually gave me tickets behind the bench last year for the second round of the NIT against Iowa. I drove 24 hours (including through a blizzard in Pennsylvania) to get to the game. So yeah as you can tell, I go into every game knowing that anything can happen.
Do you plan repeat this performance at the America East tournament or possibly the NCAA tournament?
The sign is already packed up and ready to go to Albany (where the America East tournament will take place) with me. So that's a yes to both.