The Jeremy Lin decision countdown had NBA fans glued to their monitors Tuesday night, and a number of Twitter fans took advantage of the situation by tweeting fake reports about the New York Knicks' plans for the young point guard.
The Knicks have until 11:59 p.m EST Tuesday to matching the nearly $30 million offer sheet the Houston Rockets offered earlier this month for the services of Jeremy Lin, the man who brought Linsanity to the New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden.
Nearly all of the recent reports from reputable outlets like the New York Times, ESPN and Sports Illustrated say that Knicks sources have assured their reporters that the team will not be re-signing Lin.
But as the countdown to the Jeremy Lin decision grew closer and closer to the witching hour, Twitter lit up with false reports, rumors and re-posts of old stories bearing nothing but the same old heresay, opinions based on unnamed sources and other useless commentary.
The most egregious of the string of false reports that emerged Tuesday night regarding Jeremy Lin and the Knicks was one that purported to be a retweet of an ESPN Sportscenter tweet. The only problem: ESPN and Sportscenter never actually sent out the message that was retweeted by many Twitter users starting shortly before 10 p.m. EST Tuesday.
@SportsCenter: BREAKING - Report: Knicks done deliberating, WILL NOT match Houston's offer sheet for Jeremy Lin. @JLin7 will be a Rocket, the message read, and it's hard to be mad at any of the people who re-tweeted it, as it appeared to be the real deal.
A number of other Twitter users -- who are not established journalists or even prominent bloggers -- sent out tweets suggesting that they had inside information suggesting that the Knicks would end up matching the Rockets' offer sheet, and that Jeremy Lin and Linsanity would remain in New York for another three seasons.
One such Twitter user is @AndyRoyceBauer, who repeatedly tweeted that he had an inside scoop and that Jeremy Lin is going to stay with the Knicks despite all the reports to the contrary:
My sources state ?#Lin? will remain a ?#Knick?. Please retweet so I receive credit for this breaking news. ?#ESPN? is wrong, he tweeted. He tweeted the following: The ?#Knicks? will announce in a press release late tonight stating that they will retain #Lin?, and also tweeted, This is according to my sources close to agent Roger Montgomery, Lin's agent. Retweet me please. I want to receive credit.
It is impossible to tell as of yet if he is telling the truth, and that he actually has inside sources, or if he is just lying in order to attract attention. But he only has 82 followers and his Twitter profile states that he works for a company called Royce Leather Gifts, which does not sound like the home of a top NBA insider.
The account of another relative unknown, namely @EFNews, also stated repeatedly Tuesday night that it had inside information about the Jeremy Lin decision.
Breaking: source tells me the ?#Knicks? will match the Jeremy Lin offer, he tweeted, adding the following: The ?#Knicks? are waiting until last minute or the drama... That's what?#Linsanity? is all about..
Asked if he is an NBA insider by a fellow Twitter user, he responded, No but I have sources.
Sounds like a less-than iron-clad story. Despite all the hype surrounding the Jeremy Lin decision, the sports world will have to wait until midnight Tuesday to know for sure if Jeremy Lin will be a Knick or a Rocket. Until then, it's all just hearsay.