Big heads mean big fun at TBA

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Big heads have turned into big fun during Tennessee's basketball games at Thompson-Boling Arena.

There's a Pat Summitt big head.

A Miley Cyrus big head.

Cuonzo Martin has one, as does Butch Jones, Peyton Manning, and Justin Bieber.

So do the players.

Tennessee guard Josh Richardson, a junior, remembers the first time he unexpectedly saw the 'Josh Richardson big head.'

"It was the UCONN game, my freshman year. I was like, 'is that me over there?' I've never seen anything like that before," Richardson said.

Originally called 'Game Faces.' two years ago, Tennessee introduced these funny famous figures to the student section.

"It's something the students have really enjoyed and that we've built upon the last two years," Jenny Brown said. Brown is the director of sales and marketing for Tennessee athletics.

"It's built into something bigger and better. The team has been involved with, the coaches get involved. Everyone has really taken ownership."

And who gets to hold these huge heads? It's not random. That's decided several minutes for the game starts and they go to the students that cheer the loudest.

"It's just more fun," Tennessee freshman Jonathan Toye said. "It makes the game more fun if I use the big head during free throws to try to distract the other team."

And whose face will be featured on the cardboard cutouts? That's not random either.

"We allow students, pregame, to nominate big heads. We have a few student leaders that will walk around within the student section and gather the nominations," Brown said.

And whoever, or whatever, is the most popular, will then be featured at the next game.

But before you see that fat face, the big head must be built. A process that takes place on campus at the athletics' department print shot.

The marketing department sends the print shop the image to be created. The picture is adjusted to its needed dimensions and then sent to the printer. It takes about 7 minutes to print out a four-foot tall big head.

The image is then put to cardboard and laminated. An adhesive to hold the wooden stick is then applied, and a big head is born. The entire process only takes about 20 minutes.

"It's just more fun," Tennessee freshman Jonathan Toye said. "It makes the game more fun if I use the big head during free throws to try to distract the other team."

Whether its Butch, Bieber, or Betty, these pics on sticks express so much, without ever saying a word

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