REUTERS/Jumana El-Heloueh

That Viral Photo Of Prince And 'Charlie Murphy' Is Actually One Big Lie

The Internet was flooded with tributes to Prince after he passed away last week, as seemingly all people everywhere rushed to social media to make sure they didn't miss out on the incredibly lucrative opportunity for likes that comes with saying you're sad about a sad thing happening.

I'm not trying to discount the genuinely heartfelt statuses from people who were actually influenced by one of the most influential artists of the past few decades, but I find it hard to believe you really cared about Prince if your first reaction was to post a link to the "Chappelle's Show" sketch he inspired.

Almost everyone is familiar with Charlie Murphy's story about the time he played basketball with Prince, but I don't think most people actually believe it happened in real life -- even though Prince's basketball skills were well documented.

I counted myself among the skeptics until I came across this picture last night purportedly showing Prince and Charlie Murphy posing in front of a hoop after that fateful game.

I wanted to believe, but I've worked on the Internet for far too long to believe literally anything I read. After a bit of digging, it became clear our emotions were simply being exploited again.

It's fairly clear the man in that picture isn't Charlie Murphy, and further digging led me to an admittedly uncited Reddit post from a couple of years ago identifying the fallen opponent as Harlan "Hucky" Austin, who served as Prince's director of security for a period of time.

The Internet has lied again, and I'm very disappointed in it.