Jimmer and China

A few weeks ago an article was written about Jimmer and his basketball season in China with the Shanghai Sharks.  It was brought to our attention that the article painted a negative picture of his life over there.  I didn’t think about that at the time when I first read it so I went back to read it over again.  I guess I can see what they mean.   It does sound a little bit bleak in some of the writer’s assessment of Jimmer’s life over there. He’s a really nice guy and a good writer but I think that maybe he was going for the dramatic affect and maybe his perception of what he saw was a little different than what Jimmer and my husband (who has spent many weeks over there) know to be true.  Some of his description of things over there made it seem a little more lonely or negative than it actually is for Jimmer.  Maybe the name “Jimo Dashen”, meaning the lonely master, got to the journalist.

After the article appeared in the Deseret News, another man, who currently lives in Shanghai and has met Jimmer, took offense to the the article because of the perceived dreary portrayal of Shanghai and published a rebuttal blog post. (Both articles are on my Facebook page) I must say after reading his blog , I can appreciate his thoughts on the Deseret News article.   I am actually grateful to him for bringing this to our attention. I didn’t think that people would take it that way but I guess some people did.  The last thing Jimmer and our family would want to do is to offend, in any way, the Chinese people and the great city of Shanghai. So I wanted to set the record straight concerning that.

My husband Al went over to China with Jimmer on the first trip last year.  I was so glad that Al was going to accompany him because, let’s face it, going that far away in a strange land, not knowing the language or what to expect, is a little intimidating for anyone. Jimmer’s wife was pregnant at the time, and understandably, she couldn’t go with him.  Not only is the length of the flight tough, but the time change throws you off for a few days, along with the jet lag.  They both were wiped out but also excited for the new adventure.

Right from the start, the Shark management, took good care of Jimmer.  They met him at the airport and had a Chinese English speaking gentleman, “Teddy”, who came to be Al and Jimmer’s sidekick for the entire time that they were there with the Sharks.  Al said he is such a great guy who wanted to make sure that they were comfortable and well taken care of during their stay in China. He would take the time to explain so many things to Al and Jimmer about the culture and their monetary system.  They got the hang of it pretty quickly, but if it were me, I’d still be wrestling with it.   Teddy was there to “show them the ropes” of  Shanghai.   He would teach them, or make suggestions as to what they should do and what they should not do so they would not inadvertently offend the Chinese people.   For example one of the first team dinners they had, they all were expected to take a drink of Saki (Sake) to honor the team and the coaches before the start of the season.  It’s customary over there to drink and toast this or that.  The interpreter explained to Al and Jimmer that it was considered disrespectful if you didn’t participate in the drinking part. It put Jimmer, as well as Al, in an awkward position because they don’t drink at all, but yet as the new guys, they didn’t want to give the impression that they were being anti-social or disrespectful.  Jimmer explained to the interpreter beforehand that he and his father were not going to drink anything other than water or something non-alcoholic when they did the toasts.  So that’s what they did….they raised their glasses of water for their toast.   Once it was explained to them (the team) by the interpreter, they all understood.  That’s just the way it was going to be.

They had a driver that took them to Jimmer’s apartment in downtown Shanghai and would be there the whole season to get him to the games and practices on time.  At the games there is always an interpreter for the import players (2 imports for each team) because the head coach didn’t speak much English at all.  The assistant coach was American but lived in Australia so he could help with the language barrier also.  I’m sure it was very confusing at first for Jimmer but he adjusted really well.  After all, it was basketball….something that he could figure out no matter what language they were speaking.  Surprisingly enough, he said that most of his teammates spoke English.  Some of them better than others.  That was very helpful.  I’m sure that they learned some things from Jimmer and he learned some things from them as well.  But ultimately, it was the team camaraderie that they felt.  Regardless of the language, they came to feel a bond with one another.  Jimmer genuinely has fond feelings and appreciates his teammates, his coaches, the trainers, and the entire staff of the Sharks organization as they reciprocated those feelings for him.  They support and encourage one another.

Now a few words about his apartment….  I know the first article mentioned that the apartment seemed lonely and cold, devoid of the homey feel that one might like.  My first thought was what young professional athlete, who is temporarily living away from their permanent home, cares about where they are staying as long as it is relatively clean, has a kitchen, TV, and a bed?  What athlete would go out and buy homey things like colorful throw pillows and accessories to liven up a temporary place?  Only a mother would do that, and to be honest, if I was over there, then I probably would have done that.  Wouldn’t have mattered one bit to Jimmer and to most guys, but it would have mattered to me.  Us mothers are like that sometimes.  I remember when Jimmer was staying in Westchester County for the Knick’s D league.  His apartment was in a high rise building.  It was small but nice.  When Al and I went to visit the first time, and this was before Whitney got there, it was bugging me that the couch was in the wrong position in the room and so were the coffee table, rug and lamps.  He had to go out to go to practice for a few hours and when he came back, I had completely rearranged the furniture.  Even though it had a small amount of furniture there, I thought the placement of it was crucial for Jimmer’s utmost comfort and coziness.  At least it was in my mind and it was important to me that he was comfortable.  Jimmer didn’t care one way or another but graciously told me that it looked nice when he came back.  He is a really neat person so it was never messy, but now I felt that it was a little more homey for him.  So I’m sure over in China, the apartment was just fine for him and didn’t signify loneliness or anything for that matter. It’s just what they had provided for him and it was fine.  The location was great. One of the first things that I asked Jimmer to do when he got there was to give me a tour of the place by facetime.  My thoughts were that it looked very clean and shining with beautiful hardwood floors.  It had more of a modern contemporary feel to it. He had at least one flat screen TVs, (maybe two), a washer and dryer and a kitchen. He was all set.  Was it cozy looking?…probably not by most mom’s standards, but it was nice.  If he has a TV and his ipad to facetime his family, that’s all that he needs.  As I said before,  I think the writer of the article just perceived it to be lonely looking for the dramatic effect of his story.  When I saw a recent video of his apartment, he had so many colorful sneakers around that it would be hard to feel down with all of that bright neon color! Who needs throw pillows for color when you have those brightly colored sneakers?

Both Jimmer and Al have told me of the beauty of the city of Shanghai.  There are flowers everywhere, interesting statues and art sculptures, beautiful high rise buildings that light up the sky with color at night, there is a Disney World amusement park, there are stores and malls so big that Al got lost in a few, there are street vendors eager to barter with you.  So many things to see and experience. So much history.   The first article mentioned the smog and bad air over in China.  Yes there are times that people choose to wear masks to shield themselves from an especially bad day, but as the man said in the blog, parts of Utah, where the man used to live, and many other cities have bad smoggy air sometimes too, so you can’t define a city with just that.  I have experienced it myself in Utah.  It’s what they call Inversion. It would be nice to be able to wave a magic wand and bring in clean air but with large cities or areas with so many factories and traffic, it’s hard to keep it under control.  I know the writer of the first article was going for the gritty feel of the city of Shanghai and maybe it added to the dramatic theme of his story, but it wasn’t really an issue for Al or for Jimmer.

I remember Whitney saying that she felt so safe over there.  It’s probably because they have guards to monitor the streets for any signs of trouble.  Even at the games they have guards to keep order if it is needed.  I was worried that Al was going to be taken away if he didn’t stop yelling so much at the refs.  Ha!  I think they gave him a pass because he was Jimmer’s father.   It’s a Communist country and it’s something that you have to always keep in mind.  They do some things differently than we do here in the USA.

I think when Al went over there with Jimmer the first time, he was worried about what he was going to eat. Yup he’s always worried about that.   It’s no secret that when going to a different country, you may have to adjust to their cuisine. One of the first things Al said to me when we finally talked for the first time was that the food was amazing in Shanghai.  Anything that you can get over here in the USA, you can get over there. There is a McDonald’s, a Burger King, a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a Wendy’s, lots of pizza places, seafood places. steak places, dessert places, fine dining places etc. etc. Anything that you want to eat, you can get….even great ice cream places.  I know that because I saw pictures of Jimmer and Whitney’s little girl with chocolate ice cream on her face.    He tries to eat healthy things to stay in shape so maybe it’s hard to decide what to eat sometimes, but the choices are certainly there. Are there places in China where the food is less desirable and inferior than in Shanghai?  Absolutely.  The team travels to some rural areas during the season that can’t provide all of the food options of Shanghai, but they plan for that and bring food for the team or the guys can bring their own snacks. There is sometimes the threat of food poisoning for the team members, or not being able to tolerate certain foods that they are not used to, so they have to be careful of that.  As a matter of fact, one of the imports did suffer from a bout of food poisoning and had to sit out a game.  But that’s also true for athletes or anyone in the USA…. or any country for that matter.

The article mentioned something about Jimmer just watched TV or movies in his downtime, and that’s probably true when he was alone, but when someone is over there with him, he ventures out on the streets and takes advantage of all there is to see. I think most people are like that.  It’s much more fun to have someone to share those things with than doing it on your own.  He goes out to the occasional get together or dinner with the coaches and team.  He goes out to shop when he wants or needs to go to a store.  When you’ve seen just about everything that there is to see in your area, what more can you do by yourself?  Besides Jimmer has time restraints everyday because everything is centered around practices, shoot arounds, travel and games. Sometimes he has to do endorsement obligations that can take up quite a bit of time.  That’s his job.  The time that he does have off, which is not much, he probably likes to stay put and relax from the exhaustion of a very busy schedule. I know one thing that he enjoys every day and does it as many times as he can in a day….. and that is Facetime with his family.  Thank heavens for modern technology.  It makes being away from your family a little more tolerable for the many people that have jobs far away from them.

I mentioned this before on Facebook but I’ll say it again, one thing I disagreed with wholeheartedly in the article is the statement that the writer made about Jimmer having no rhythm and not being about to dance.  What?!!!  Jimmer is known for being a terrific dancer.  That assessment most likely comes from a person that can’t dance at all so it’s hard to pick out a good dancer if you have no dancing skills of your own.  It has been my opinion over the years that most athletes can dance.  They are born with good hand/eye coordination and can find that rhythm when they hear a beat.  I have 3 brothers that were all good athletes and everyone of them can dance really well.  So does my other son and daughter…both good athletes.  Of course there are always exceptions to the rule but generally, athletes can dance.  So I really took offense to that comment.  It made him sound like he was awkward on the dance floor and nothing can be further from the truth.  The video that the guy put up of Jimmer and the wedding crew was a fun day for them.  Any confusion of the dance moves was because they put that dance together pretty quickly and had to perform under pressure for the bride and wedding guests.  Ha Ha.   It was fun to watch.

The CBA….I know that people say that the Chinese basketball league is an inferior league and it’s not as good as the NBA or the Euro-league and that’s probably true about the NBA,  but the Euro league, that’s just a matter of opinion.  Yes the NBA has the top basketball players in the world but there are some players that have been cut from the NBA, gone over to the CBA, and then work their way back to the NBA. There are a couple of Chinese players that played in the NBA for a few seasons but wanted to go back to play in their homeland. One example is a player named Yi Jianlian, who played for the Dallas Mavericks for a time. The competition in China can be a little weaker sometimes, depending on the team.  Some of the well known players that have played there or are still playing there, are Marshon Brooks, Carlos Boozer, JJ Hickson, Jason Thompson, Josh Smith, Gilbert Arenas, JR Smith, Metta World Peace, Tracey McGrady, Pooh Jeter, Chris Anderson (Birdman), Shavlik Randolph, Stephon Marbury of course, and many more. Some came over for a short time and went back to the NBA and some left basketball altogether but China was their choice of where to play, so it can’t be that bad.  Although the teams can only have 2 imports on a team, some of the Chinese players are very skilled, scrappy and can shoot the lights out!  It all depends on the team of course (that’s also true in the NBA) but to Jimmer, every game is a battle.  Because of his scoring abilities, he has become a target no matter where he plays.  To those who have said, oh of course he can score there, the competition is weak, I would challenge them to spend one game in Jimmer’s sneakers and see what it is like.  He is grabbed, scratched, tripped, elbowed, pushed, slapped and yes even head butted.  After some of the games he is sore and beat up. This season he came home with a black eye from an over zealous defender. They rotate fresh defensive players on him throughout a game in which their only assignment is to just stop Jimmer, never mind the ball, just stop him!  I don’t know how he can stand a guy two inches from his face all of the time and constantly touching him.  I guess he is used to it. The reffing is less than perfect (just ask my husband who has been there in person) so they let a lot of that kind of fouling happen for the most part.  Every once in awhile they will call a good game but seems like those games are few and far between.  I won’t say too much about that but there are articles written about the reffing in China and the CBA in general.  As I think back, I don’t even remember Jimmer being roughed up that bad in the NBA.  Almost every game is tough for him and I am still in awe of what he can do in spite of all of that.  But still he is enjoying it.  It’s a challenge and Jimmer always did love a challenge.  He is a starter and he plays the majority of the game. The worry that he is going to be taken out if he makes one mistake is gone.  The coach recognizes that sometimes he needs time to get warmed up and play through mistakes (a luxury he didn’t have in the NBA)….but when he catches that rhythm, watch out.  People sometimes think that Jimmer is just a shooter.  That was the misconception that the coaches had in the NBA.  They stuck him in the corner waiting for the ball that never came.  No doubt that he has the 3 point shooting talent, but I always say to people that he’s not just a shooter, he is a scorer, plain and simple. He’s been that type of player since he was a little boy.  He has a variety of shots.  He CAN create his own shot but I have heard so many announcers say that he can not.  Wow they haven’t really watched Jimmer if they say that.  That’s why he is so hard to stop.  If his 3 point shot is not working in some games, he tries something different.  He’ll take it in and score that way.  He is a great passer and sees the floor really well.  He is quicker and a lot stronger than people think.  You have to have a certain amount of strength and quickness to score like that.  So not only do the coaches and players in Shanghai have confidence in him, but he has gotten his own confidence back.  As a very astute and fair announcer said once when Jimmer was in the NBA, the talent that was on display at BYU has not gone away, it’s still there, but he hasn’t found the right situation yet where he can showcase that talent.  That was the frustration for all of us in the NBA.  That’s why going to China was a good move for him.  As the article said, he’s gotten his swagger back.  I could go on and on with this subject and my feelings, but I won’t.  I will move on.

I want to say something about the Chinese people.  Both Al and Jimmer have mentioned to me that they are the kindest, most loving, giving people that you would ever want to meet.  Very hard working.  He said that they have a sweet spirit about them… and they love their basketball.   Al has so many stories of encounters he has had with the Chinese people.  They are more than willing to help you if you just ask (and if they speak English.) He ventured out every day to experience some of the local color.  Sometimes he went with Jimmer if he had some free time, but mostly on his own. The population, of course, is mind blowing in Shanghai…about 24 million people, almost 3 times the population of NYC.  Some days are wall to wall people. Lots of activity and lots to see and do.   Sometimes Al got lost and sometimes he maneuvered himself around Shanghai pretty good.   He told me that because of Jimmer’s notoriety over there and the fact that Al’s face was frequently shown on TV during his games, that some people started to recognize him on the streets and asked for pictures with him.  He once walked by a group of armed guards that must have watched the games because they started talking back and forth with each other and as Al looked back, one of them was going through the motion of shooting a basketball.  They laughed as Al smiled and nodded yes at them.

My intention was not to slam the first article from the Deseret News about Jimmer’s life in China.  In fact, the journalist is a very good writer and the article was well written.  He spent alot of time researching it. He talked for hours with Al, Tj and his sister Lindsay on the phone. He flew over to Shanghai to spend some time with Jimmer.  If you scroll down to the end of his article, you will see a video in which he did a great job describing his findings of Jimmer’s life in China.  However, I just wanted to counteract any feelings that one might have had after reading it and coming away with the conclusion that Jimmer’s experience over there is not a good one.  On the contrary, it has been amazing.  Let’s just say that he is as happy as one can be living over there without his family by his side the majority of the time.  That’s probably where the journalist’s perceived melancholy feelings from Jimmer may have come from.  As Whitney said, he is pretty level headed and doesn’t get too high or too low.  He is a go with the flow type person.  To go back, one of the inaccurate comments in the article was that his brother TJ said that Jimmer became extremely depressed when he was with the Sacramento Kings.  Tj told me that he never used those words but rather he said that he was having a tough time.  When Jimmer heard that he quickly said that he wasn’t depressed and that was too strong a word, but frustrated was the correct word for the situation at the time. Again I guess for the writer, the word depressed was more dramatic. He was going through alot of adjustments.  I was there for his first year in the NBA so I was sharing in that frustration, as was all of our family. Did he get on his knees for strength and guidance as it was written in the article? I didn’t see that myself like Tj did, but I would say, knowing Jimmer, that it was absolutely true.  Jimmer is such a positive thinking person that he doesn’t dwell on things too much and moves forward.  Tj always told him that you have to have a “short memory” in sports. It’s a term used that means that you can’t stop to think about a mistake that you may have made on the court because otherwise if you do, you will loose your focus and it will take you mentally out of the game.  That term can also be used in life in general.  Have a short memory and not dwell on past mistakes or even the injustices that happen.  That is good advice. I think Jimmer lives his life like that.  He could have very easily harbored resentment against the NBA, but he chose to have that short memory and look ahead at other opportunities and it landed him into another round of Jimmermania.  He is grateful to everyone of his fans in the USA and now in China.  So yes after awhile when he is in China towards the end of the season, he is ready to come back to the USA because like anyone else, you can’t be totally happy without your family by your side. This is his job and it is a way to give his family a good life.  It’s also doing what he loves. He is so appreciative for the fans that he has, the people that he has met and the opportunities that he has been given.  I know that he has a grateful heart for his blesssings, as do we as his family.

One last thing that I really pondered a lot is when the article mentioned that this was not the way that it was suppose to happen. In other words, he was saying that Jimmer’s dream was that he was suppose to be successful and playing in the NBA and he wasn’t suppose to be playing in China.  My thoughts are maybe this is EXACTLY the way that it was suppose to happen. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, as they say, but sometimes it’s just the right pitch.  Life is not only about basketball. It’s about learning, and growing, and experiencing all kinds of things in our journey.  If he didn’t go to China, he would have not met all of the people that he has met. He would have not experienced another culture and learned about life in a country different than our own.  He would not have gotten the opportunities that were made available to him and will be in the future if he stayed sitting on the bench in the NBA.  He belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Who knows if he has influenced someone there in a largely non-Christian country to investigate what he believes.  Maybe there is a reason why he is there other than to play basketball.  Those are questions many people have thought about.  He has one more year under contract with the Shanghai Sharks.  After that who knows what will happen.  Maybe he will again play in the NBA and maybe he won’t, but make no mistake about it, Jimmer has alot of basketball left to be played and wherever he goes, he will bring with him the light that he has, a positive attitude, and a work ethic that any team would want.  Time will tell.

I have posted some pictures and a video to show you some of the experiences that he has had in China over the past two years.  The final video was last year when he won the MVP trophy.  What’s not to love over there?  The first 4 pictures were taken as he arrived back in China for the second season.  How great for a mother’s heart to see that.  Thank you to the Shanghai people.  Right now Jimmer is home in Colorado with his wife and his daughter (and their great dog George)….another perk of China basketball is that it’s a short season so it means more family time for him.

Take care everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,

Kay

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wes wit jimmer at bund

At a place called “THE BUND”.  Beautifully colored buildings to see.

wes wit at bund

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Wesley was the star on the streets.

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jimmer in China

got her Disney ears in Shanghai.

Jimmer giving talk in China

accepting an award

colorful scarves

Beautiful silk scarves that Al brought home for me.

jimmer and roger federer

Got to meet his all time favorite professional tennis players, Roger Federer, who had a tournament over there in China. He said he was a really nice guy. Liked him alot.

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memories of a lifetime

pink building

great wall

Great Wall of China in Bejiing…about 2 hours away from Shanghai.

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china photographer

Wonderful lady who was a photographer for the team.  Al said she is in her 80s.

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Honoring our Veterans

Hi Everyone!
Just like to say that I hope everyone had a nice Memorial day. Lots of rain in NY but they managed to get the parades in before it got too bad. So thankful for our Veterans and the service that they have given to this country. It’s easy to say that we are thankful to them and appreciate their sacrifices but to really feel that connection to them you almost have to personalize it and feel that sacrifice that they made everyday for us as they served.  So many stories of tragedies and death and lives turned upside down, but the inspiring part is that most of them wanted to serve our country and took pride in it so their families could live in this great country while preserving our freedoms.  So many families were torn apart as they sacrificed for us. Some temporarily and some sadly forever.  We need to think that that could have been my family, my brothers, my sisters, my father, my mother, my spouse, my uncles that did the sacrificing by leaving their families and going off to serve our country in wherever they were needed.  Most people have a relative that has served in some capacity but not all have a tragic ending.  It’s important for those families that lost loved ones to know that they didn’t die in vain.  They died for a purpose….to protect the rights and freedoms of the people in the United States of America. Those that served and came home should be honored for the special men and woman that they are. We are so grateful to them.
In my case, my mother saw my Dad who served in two branches of the armed services during World War 2… the Army Air Corp and the US Navy, go off to serve until she could join him. He was fortunate that all was well with him until he was honorably discharged. Another Veteran in my mother’s family was her mother, my grandmother. She was an army nurse. She actually met her husband, my mother’s father, who also was a veteran, while she was serving the country. Never quite heard whether he was her patient at the time that they met, but I’d sure like to think that’s what happened.  I imagine that it was probably the case.  They were married and had 5 daughters together. The sad part of this story is that he died at the young age of 45 from shrapnel complications from the war. He left behind his wife and those 5 daughters. He served his country well but there was a price that he paid. My mother was the oldest and a teenager at the time. I can only imagine what my mother and her sisters felt as they lost their father when they were so young.  They had to carry on without him.  My Mom used to tell me how tough a woman her mother was.  She had to be. She had 5 daughters to raise on her own.  So much of the responsibility fell on my mother and the oldest girls while their mother had to continue to work and make a living for them.  I think it profoundly changed my mother.  I can’t feel what she felt, but I can imagine the deep sadness that they all went through after they lost their father.  She became almost like a mother herself as she had to help take on more responsibility at such a young age to help her younger sisters.  They helped each other and they leaned on each other for support and affection.  Our family, still to this day, call them the “Barker Girls.”  (their maiden name).   If there was anything good that came out of this it was how close they all became as a family of 5 girls and their mother. There was no denying their closeness that carried on through their lives.   They all survived the tragedy of loosing their father and I think what kept them going through the years was their sense of humor.  Anyone who knew them, and there are two still with us, knew that there was never a dull moment when they were together.
I barely remember my grandmother and I never met my grandfather, of course, because he was gone before my parents got married.  He was a casualty of war but he and my grandmother and my father served our country well and they all were buried with full military honors at the cemetery.
This is such a special day for our country.  A chance to honor those that gave so much to America.  It’s not all about having a day off and having a barbeque with the family.  It’s about the men and women that sacrificed and are still sacrificing so that we will always have the freedom to do those things.   I hope that everyone took some time to reflect on what are Veterans mean to this country…..and also those that are serving now that will be Veterans one day.   They deserve our respect and our gratitude for giving up their lives, and in some cases, literally….enduring the suffering of war, both mentally and physically, and the separation from their families, to keep this country free for all of us.  We are so proud of them.
So to all of the Veterans and those that are serving now……THANK YOU!
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,
Kay
Pictures from my small but wonderful hometown of Whitehall, NY…..

Another NBA presence in our house…

When Jimmer was a Senior at BYU and just getting started with basketball season, it was customary for the team to play a game at the Seniors’ hometowns….or at least close to it.  Many of the guys are from Utah, or somewhere in the West, so it’s not much of a problem to schedule their games. Jimmer’s situation was different, he was from NY.  After much deliberation and planning, it was going to happen.  A D1 college game was coming to Glens Falls, NY.  I’m not going to talk about all that happened during that game on this post, but I’ll just say it was a perfect, magical night for us all.  BYU won the game against UVM.  It was a memory we will never forget.

Something interesting happened at our house the day of the game.  I was sitting on the couch when I heard a knock on the door.  As I looked out the window, I saw a tall middle aged man.  I didn’t recognize him but I noticed he was holding something in his hand.  As I cracked opened the door (my husband was home so it was ok), the stranger asked me if Jimmer was home.  Obviously he knew that Jimmer was in town for the game and assumed he would be staying here with us at home.  Actually Jimmer had to stay with the team at the Queensbury Hotel so he wasn’t here at the time.

“Well I wanted to give him these pictures,” said the man.  As he showed me the pictures, I recognized that they were taken in our house.  He told me that he was one of the guys in the pictures and that he used to live in this house.  He grew up here with 2 or 3 brothers ( I can’t exactly remember how many)….very tall brothers in this little tiny house.  His name was Ray.  I don’t know what I was more surprised by…. that he lived here at all, or that those TALL people lived here.  Our house is not made for tall people.  Everyone knows that if you are tall, there are places in our house that you have to duck your head, especially upstairs.  How in heaven’s name did these very tall teenage boys manage in this house?!!!  Ray said he was 6′ 6″ tall!   I guess you make due with what you have.  Well anyways, we talked for awhile about his life here and in this neighborhood.  By then I had invited him in to look over his old homestead.  He was clearly going down nostalgia lane as he looked around.  We all can imagine how he felt being in the home where he grew up.  Lots of memories.

He then proceeded to tell me that this tall black man in the picture was a young Bob Lanier.  He was the #1 draft pick in the NBA in 1970.  He was 6’11” tall.  He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons.  At the time that this picture was taken, I’m not sure if he was already in the NBA or he was in college where he was playing for St. Bonaventure, a college near Buffalo, NY.  He actually was born in Buffalo. You can google him and read about his history and accomplishments.  Very impressive.  His shoe size alone is very impressive actually.  Size 23!!!  Of course my first question was how did he happen to have his picture taken in our house?  Unfortunately I can’t remember what he said, but I know he did mention something about basketball in Albany.  It will forever be a mystery as to why Bob Lanier was here.  The point is that he was here.  Maybe he left behind some NBA “vibes” in our house.  I noticed that Lanier’s jersey was #16.  Jimmer was #16 when he played for the Knicks D League.  I personally like the #32 better.  Ha!

Ray not only lived in this house but I also found out that he played basketball on some of the same summer teams as my husband, Al.  You can see in the picture that Ray is not much shorter than Bob Lanier.  Al said that he loved playing basketball and he was a good player himself.  If that wasn’t a coincidence enough, he dated and married a girl who went to the same college that I did.  I actually knew her.  She was a wonderful, very sweet, girl.  The sad part of this story is that he told me that she had passed away from a rare form of cancer a few years ago.  My heart sank.  As he talked about her, even though it had been awhile since she had been gone from his life, he clearly was still in a lot of emotional pain.  He lingered here in the house longer than I expected.   In retrospect, I realized that this man was here, not only because he was a Jimmer fan and wanted to do something nice for him by bringing him those pictures, but he also came back to his childhood home to soak in some memories of days gone by….a simpler time for him.  I’m sure it gave him some comfort to be here and to talk to someone that knew his wife Kathy. Ray ended up coming back one other time just to talk but we haven’t seen him since then.  My hope is that he has found solace and happiness once again in his life.

So it was quite a day that we experienced.  Bob Lanier is about 68 years old now.  Hard to believe those pictures were taken so many years ago.

So this tiny little house has a history for sure.  It may not be in the best shape, it’s weathered and warn out,  but a lot of excitement and interesting things happened here.  We’ve had people from everywhere in this house.   We’ve had the prestigious Naismith Award, Oscar Robinson Award, Wooden Award, Oscar Robinson award, AP award, the Espy award, etc., ESPN crews, BYU media crews, NYC crews, newspaper people, whole basketball teams from both my sons playing years, people from other states stopping by to see where Jimmer grew up, my daughter’s accolades from school, dancing and winning Miss NY Teen USA….the house actually looks like a small museum (some people have said), but to me the best thing that ever happened in this house is that all 3 of my children were born and grew up here.  It was full of love for each other and love for God, much excitement, good friends, an occasional pet or two, good times, some tough times, but like every family, you wake up every morning and go to sleep at night and hope that in between, your days are filled with good health and meaningful, productive, successful experiences.  The pages of life turn very quickly, and the years fly by, but this house, such as it is, has given me a lifetime of memories….and more to come I’m sure.

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time….see ya!

Kay

Ray and Bob Lanier in our house…the house where Ray grew up also. Yup that door is still here. They made those doors sturdy back then.

 

Yup this is our front entryway….an older version, but you can see how Bob Lanier had to duck to get out of the house.

 

 

lots of action and love in this humble little home….

Meeting Mr. Kelly….

This post is a departure of what we usually write about here on this blog but it goes along with the theme and mission of our Fredette Family Foundation…. and that is to help and be of service to one another in any way that we can.

I want to tell you of an unexpected time that I had the opportunity to help and be of service to someone.   I’m not sure that I told my children (maybe I mentioned it in passing to Lindsay, my daughter) but if they read this they will read it for the first time. This is not to brag about helping someone, but rather I’m considering it a blessing for me to help this man named Mr. Kelly, who I’ve never forgotten, even though it was more than 20 years ago.  On this day he called me his guardian angel.  Let’s just say that I received much more than I gave to him.  This is my story.

The time of year was in late Fall when the nights were starting to get very cool.  For some reason, and I can’t even remember why, I was coming in on the Amtrak train from NYC to the Ft. Edward, NY station, about 50 miles north of Albany.  My husband was scheduled to pick me up at 9:00 PM.  Finally we got to my stop and I exited the train.  I was the only person that was to get off there…so I thought.  My husband was not there yet but I knew that he would be coming along soon, so I stood under the overhang of the rooftop of the station.  This particular station and its services for passengers coming in had been long since abandoned and there was no activity or signs of life around this old, crooked, dark building.   The only light I had was from the street light that was adjacent to me.

Usually when all of the passengers exit the train at their destinations, the door closes swiftly behind them and they take off immediately.  This night they didn’t speed away as I expected.  I noticed when I exited and turned around to face the train about 20 feet away, in the light of the doorway, stood the conductor talking to a man.  He was a smallish older gentleman with white hair.  As I observed them further, I noticed that the white haired man had an oxygen tank that he wheeled along side of him.  They spoke for a few minutes and I could sense that there was a desperate aura around both of them.  From the hand gestures of the older man, I could tell that he was upset over something.  The conductor seemed to be in a quandary as to what to do because he was under pressure to keep the schedule of the train.

Finally the conductor looked out of the train and spotted me standing there under the very dimly lit area.  He came out to me carrying the man’s suitcase, set it down beside me, and asked if I could help this man. He needs a ride.  To his great relief, I said sure I’ll help him.  The conductor assisted the man out of the train with his oxygen tank and they both came over.  The conductor thanked me and the man just nodded with a smile.  I hadn’t even done anything yet, but I guess I relieved the anxiety that both of them were experiencing at the time. I felt no fear of this small, white haired stranger even though it was just him and I in an area with very little light.   How afraid would anyone be of a small old man with tubes in his nose from the oxygen tank that assisted him with his breathing?  The conductor waved to us, hurried back to the train and it soon departed.

The man and I introduced ourselves and as he told me his name, both first and last, all I picked up was his last name….Kelly.  So I just called him Mr. Kelly.  He was a very friendly, animated man and it didn’t take me long to notice that he didn’t speak like a person from the USA.  He had a thick accent that was unmistakable to me as to where he was from. I could hear that he was from England and I was guessing, but almost certain, that he was from a particular part of England because he spoke just like The BEATLES did!  Not like the royal family British accent, but from Beatle-land!!!…. Liverpool, England!!!  Anyone that knows my group of friends from our teenage years, knows that we LOVED the Beatles.  We actually were able to go to Shea Stadium, thanks to one of my aunts who lived in that area, to see them in concert.  Yes, we were fanatics and picking up on someone else that spoke in that particular accent and dialect was easy!  It’s like the difference in how a person from Brooklyn, NY speaks as opposed to upstate NY.  Very different and very distinguishable.  So I proceeded to ask him where he was from….sure enough, he was from Liverpool, England!

Mr. Kelly told me that he was under the impression that there would be a full service train station here and that he would be able to catch a taxi or a shuttle service to get to his hotel.  It was then that I realized how desperate and fearful he must have felt as he looked out the window of the train approaching his stop.  It was not filled with the activity of a full service train station, but rather a dark, desolate, empty train station.  Ft. Edward, NY is a great, friendly, little town, but it’s a very small town where most people settle in for the night and there is not much action on the streets.  Anyone of us can imagine the fear that Mr. Kelly must have felt being in, not only in an unknown dimly lit town, but in an unknown country.  An able bodied Mr. Kelly could have gotten some help somewhere by someone…. but this was a vulnerable, weakened man depending on oxygen to keep him alive.

He was here to have a reunion with some of his old friends and they choose to meet in beautiful Lake George, NY.  Seemed like it was on their “bucket list” to meet one last time. When I look back I think about the determination and great desire he had to fulfill this last journey in his life.  It clearly wasn’t an easy trip for him to make.  Since his friends also weren’t very familiar with this area, they assumed Mr. Kelly would not have a problem getting a taxi to bring him up to the hotel.  This was back in the days when we didn’t have the convenience of calling someone on their cell phone.

My husband, Al, soon arrived and I told him that we needed to give this man a ride up to Lake George.  If you know Al, you know how kind and charitable he is.  He would have carried the man up there on his back if he had to just to help him out, so of course he said… “hop in, no problem.”  Mr. Kelly insisted that we didn’t need to do that but rather  just give him a ride to where he could make a phone call or to a taxi service.  He was such a nice man and so grateful just to be in contact with people willing to help him in this strange, unfamiliar country.  We wouldn’t hear of that and gave him a ride straight up to the Lake George hotel.

We let him sit in the front seat to make it easier on him with his oxygen tank and put his luggage in the back.  I sat in the middle of the back seat so I could eagerly lean forward to hear him talk.  I so enjoyed hearing that accent.  Of course it didn’t take me long to ask the big question.  I couldn’t resist.  After all, he was from the land of The Beatles.  “Did you ever see the Beatles play in Liverpool?” I asked.   He laughed a little and was very forthcoming with his stories about the Beatles.  I was thrilled to hear, yes, he did see them.  He called them “lads” and said he saw them before they were called “The Beatles”.  He said they were called the Quarrymen and several other names before they settled on The Beatles.  I knew he was right because I was an expert on the history of The Beatles.  They were just starting out when Mr. Kelly would see them and there were guys that were in and out of the original band.  They were a work in progress but they were beginning to become popular in the area “pubs,” as he called them.  Little did Mr. Kelly know how popular they would become.  He said that many similar group bands were springing up all over Liverpool and all over the whole country of England.  It was called the British Invasion when they began to filter into the United States.  If you grew up anywhere near the 60s, you are well aware of those times. What great music that was and actually still is.  It was like a walk back to my teen years as Mr. Kelly talked.  So we very much enjoyed our conversation with his lively personality with an intriguing Liverpool accent.  He called it a “scouser” accent for those of you interested in looking it up.  Just a thought I’ve always had….have you ever noticed that when a person that has a British accent or any accent, sings, the accent goes away?  Interesting how that happens.  It definitely happened in the Beatles’ music.

Finally we arrived up at the hotel in Lake George.  We helped him in and waited to make sure that his friends were there.  They were….and he invited them down to meet us.  Very nice also and were grateful after they heard that there was no transportation for Mr. Kelly at the station other than us….he obviously was their much loved friend.  They asked us if they could take us to dinner the next night but unfortunately we weren’t able to do that.  Before we left, we exchanged addresses so we could maybe keep in touch.  The next day sometime during late morning, I got a knock on the door.  As I looked out, I saw a big beautiful bouquet of flowers ready to be delivered to me.  I looked at the card and it read….”To my guardian angel.”  Thank you….(signed) Mr.  Kelly

I think when he got back to England, we wrote at least one time to each other but that was it.  Mr. Kelly was not a well man.  He told us of a heart problem that he had and after listening to him struggle to breathe, I understood that this trip was probably the last trip that he would take.  I felt strongly that he probably passed away a couple of months after he arrived home.

Some might say how lucky he was to have me there to help him to his destination…. but I say how lucky and blessed I was to meet such a wonderful, lovely, friendly man like Mr. Kelly.  I’m sure that 100% of those reading this would have done the same thing to help this man, so I don’t feel special in that way, but I feel like maybe I was meant to be there at that time to meet him.  What a blessing and a privilege it was for me.

I think that opportunities and certain special situations in life are all about timing.  Some good, some bad.  You hear people say that you were in the “right place at the right time” and you also hear about being in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”  I think that we sometimes find ourselves in a situation on God’s perfect timing.  My husband is never late and he is very respectful of me when it comes to picking me up….but on this night, for the first time, he was late.  If he hadn’t been late, I would have been gone and there would have been no one there to help this man…. who actually reminded me of my father.  I believe that was an example of God’s timing.

Mr. Kelly said that I was “his guardian angel” and I’d like to think that that was true.  I wasn’t a guardian angel in the mystical sense where I appeared out of nowhere then magically disappeared.  (although I believe that can happen and has happened to people).  There used to be a song back in the Oldies era called “Earth Angel”.   I think that’s maybe what I was…an earth angel for Mr. Kelly.  Every single one of us has the chance or potential to be someone else’s “earth angel”.  Those opportunities present themselves to us every day.  A kind word or a kind gesture may be all it takes to change someone’s day…. or even someone’s life.

Would Mr. Kelly have made it to his hotel in Lake George without my help?  Yes maybe he would have, but not without much fear and anxiety for him.  I think he would have had to sit down on someone’s porch steps so that he could rest. The center of town where he may have possibly found a phone or a place open, was about a quarter of a mile away….that’s over 1300 steps that this poor man would have had to take wheeling his oxygen tank and carrying his luggage through an unknown, lonely, dark street.  He would have had to choose whether to go left or right, and if he guessed wrong, it would have taken him on an even longer route. The average person would have no problem making it up the street, but for Mr. Kelly and all of his health challenges, it would have been tough.

So the point of my story is that you never know when you are going to be called upon and be given the honor and priviledge to be of service to someone else…..someone’s earth angel.  I’m sure many of you have stories like this and have received the blessing of being able to help someone in need.  The “feeling” that you receive when you have helped someone and gone that extra mile is something very special.  It’s like on Christmas day….we all like to get a present or two but how much more fun and special is it to watch someone open something that you picked out for them.  It’s no accident that are spirits soar and we feel good when we do something nice for someone else. It’s how we are all wired.  Just like when we do something bad to someone or do something wrong, we feel bad inside.

In closing, this is not to say that you don’t have to be careful in helping out total strangers, because you do, but in the case of Mr. Kelly, my instincts told me that he was no one to fear and I think if you rely on that and the spirit, you will know too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

Kay

This is what the train station looks like now. I don’t think it is in service now either, but it was renovated and painted and they tried to put a little restaurant and shop in there. When my story happened, it was not painted, and looked very scary and abandoned. There were no lights anywhere except from the street light across from where I stood. Can you imagine Mr. Kelly’s thoughts as we pulled into it?

This is the lonely dark street that Mr. Kelly would have had to walk down to the middle of town.

 

 

 

 

 

The Making of Jimmer’s Commercial…

Hi everyone,

Well I hope you all saw the “Outside the Lines” segment on Jimmer.  I noticed that there is a 5 minute preview version on some of the social media sites, but that’s not the whole thing.  The finished video was a little over 20 minutes.  I know a lot of you could only find the 5 minute one but the longer version can be released 21 days after the airing of it on TV.  So I will let everyone know when that happens.

Kudos to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” crew.  They did a fantastic job and we all loved it.  It definitely captured the very essence of Jimmer.  He’s a hard working, unassuming type kid, (well I call him a kid because I’m his mother) that loves God, loves his family, including his dog George, loves playing basketball and other sports, and loves hanging out with family and friends. Now he has another little one to hang out with….their little girl. It’s as simple as that. What you see is what you get with Jimmer.  He’s never given up on his dream of playing in the NBA (which he did) and to continue to play professional basketball.  There are two personality traits that Jimmer has which have gotten him to where he is, and it’s persistence and perseverance. His wife might call it stubbornness.  He went through more than anyone knows during those first few years in the NBA, never once complaining to any of us, but kept his head up, worked hard and kept positive.  He has never doubted his abilities.  I know that he must have felt great frustration and disappointment…. but he kept going.  Now he has captured a whole new HUGE audience that appreciates his talent for basketball and loves him for who he is….and he loves them in return.   So what I would say to anyone that is getting close to their dreams of (whatever), and you feel like giving up….DON’T!!!… because you never know what is on the other side of that frustration.

So to finish up Jimmer’s experience in China for this year, I would like to talk about the making of the commercial that he did for the sporting good company called 361.  My husband happened to be there watching the whole process so I can post some of the pictures and video that he took. Kind of blurry but, hey, he had just graduated from a flip phone to a smart phone and it was all new to him…. so I’ll cut him some slack.  You did good Al.

He said they were there in a cold gym for about 9 hours.  You can see by the pictures that no one took their heavy coats off except for Jimmer when they had to do a scene.  They were very conscious of making sure Jimmer was warm and comfortable by putting a heater by him when he sat down and made sure he had a coat to wear at all times.   Al also said that they had a lot of good food for them to eat during their breaks so they certainly didn’t go hungry.  Very kind crew they were.

As I said last time when I talked about filming here at our home, it takes so much time for just a few seconds of footage, and it was the same here.  They worked very hard all day and I think the actual commercial is about 15 seconds long…if that.  Al said it was really interesting to see how it was made though.  There were about 50-75 people there, some busy with their specific jobs and some just watching. At the end you will see a bunch of sparkling confetti blowing up behind Jimmer.   There was one guy that had that job.  He had a PVC pipe and filled it full of the confetti.  Obviously he put something in the pipe that would shoot it out behind Jimmer like a small cannon to disperse it throughout the air.

Also what I thought was interesting was that they had a “stand in” for Jimmer so that he wouldn’t have to stand all day while they got the right camera angles and lighting and whatever.  They actually hired someone to do that!!!…and I think they paid him pretty good money for it.  Al got a chance to talk to the guy while he wasn’t busy being the stand in.  He said he was from Norway or Sweden or some place like that.  He was going to school over there in China and he would pick up odd jobs to make some money.  He was an interesting guy with yet another accent (this time Norwegian) in the mix.  They wanted someone of similar height, build and coloring so they could get everything right concerning Jimmer’s scenes.  I’ll post a picture of him.  Nice, happy guy Al said.

I got a kick out of how they all scooted across the room together to film Jimmer as he was dribbling the ball.  It was soon after Jimmer had slightly injured his foot and it must have been a little tender for him to do those moves, but he was a trooper. It got done.  It was an interesting and fun day for Al and Jimmer….but also a tiring one.  It takes a lot of patience and a lot of waiting around,  but it’s worth it in the end.  They have a great commercial out now and it is playing over in China for 361.

A lot of people have asked about Jimmer’s signature shoe and when it’s coming out.  He says that it won’t be out until next season and they are trying for it to be available in the USA somewhere but not at all sure about that.  We will let everyone know when we find out.  Maybe they will be available for Christmas this year.  That would be nice.

Ok that’s it for today….thanks for stopping by.  I’ll post some pictures, some video and the completed commercial at the bottom.  Those of you that saw the 20 minute version of ‘Outside the Lines” yesterday saw the commercial already.  These “behind the scenes” videos below show you that everything like this on TV seems so glamorous because the final product is so polished and perfect, but the work that goes into it, and the reality of it is not quite so glamorous.  Check it out.

Until next time….see ya!

Kay

 

Interview with “Outside the Lines” team….

First of all I want to say that this is not TJ.  It’s me, his mother, writing this because Tj is in California now and taking a break from the blog.  He’s busy with various things including a screenplay that he is working on to complete.  He’s the writer of the family.  I figured why waste a good WordPress blog that is already set up.  Plus I like the name that TJ so cleverly made up….”That Bloggles my Mind.”  I will do updates on Jimmer’s career or Fredette family events but I will also do just some of my own thoughts on things.  I’m sure I will loose some readers because I’m not TJ, but maybe I’ll gain others.  So here goes…..
We had an interesting day last week. An ESPN crew came up to our house to film where Jimmer grew up AGAIN and wanted to interview his parents….well anyone who knows me, knows how that went. Actually they didn’t even ask me so I think that Jimmer may have warned them not to expect anything from me.  Good boy Jimmer.  It was all Al doing the interview and I watched. He did really well but there was a few times that I thought I was going to have to give him the hook because he was namedropping and going on alittle too much. Ha! I’m sure they will edit that stuff out. As a matter of fact, they always take hours and hours to do some footage and most of the time, you only see a few seconds of the interview… if at all. The director of all of this told me that he did a long interview with the mother of one of the athletes as she was showing him around the town that he grew up in. It took them two hours and in the end, they didn’t use any of the footage. He said he felt bad but it’s a matter of editing and the time that they are allotted. He also said he had interviewed Kevin Durant not too long ago. I’m sure it was an interesting one.
The crew went to China to follow Jimmer around for a few days and get some local color footage of where he is staying and the beautiful city of Shanghai…..to sort of get a feel of what Jimmer has experienced over there throughout the season. Of course they wanted some footage of some action on the court too. We have had a few camera crews come to this little tiny house to film and it was really quite a learning experience to those that are interested in the film industry. The last time ESPN came, during Jimmermania, they had about 7 or 8 people that worked at a feverish pace to make this house into a studio of some sort.  Each of them had their own expertise, whether it was sound, lighting, camera angles, interviewing, and so on.  Let me tell you it was no easy job transforming this house to a place that was conducive to the atmosphere they were looking for. It’s an old house that has about one or two outlets in each room. Not gonna lie, it was a little embarrassing to tell them we don’t have any more outlets to plug their things in.  Somehow they made it work and they were so nice as they did it.  One guy told me they have experienced much worse.  ha!  That made me feel a little better.  They put film on the lamp shades and changed the light bulbs and covered the windows with special tape….it’s all about lighting and sound quality.  It was very interesting. I tried to observe and be helpful when they needed it, but stay out of the way.
The crew this time was smaller with a team of 3 but one guy couldn’t make it.  They picked the same spot to interview as the last team did….right in front of the trophies that my kids have earned throughout the years.  It took them about 5 hours total… first in the house and then around the outside of the house where basketball for my children began.  I will include a few pictures of my husband, Al, outside on our deck.  The look that the cameraman was trying to create was for Al to have a pensive expression on his face as he looked at the old basketball hoop that our kids used to play on.  Sort of like he was reminiscing and thinking of days gone by and how fast it went and how fun it was to go through. Well I can tell you though that it took so long to get just the right shot that Al’s back started hurting him as he was leaning over the railing… so in actuality, the look on his face is that he was thinking when are they going to be done because my back is killing me.  Ha!  Like I said, they take a long time with all kinds of angles and footage and in the end they will use very little of it.  The camera was so close to Al’s right ear that I think you may be able to see clear out to the other side of the yard.  Anyways it was a fun experience and the guys were so nice.  I enjoyed talking with them. If it goes forward, it will be another nice plug for good ole Glens Falls, NY.
This was all done for a show called “Outside the Lines” which airs on ESPN2.  The director told me it’s suppose to be on sometime soon (I think April 2nd, ) so if you are interested, we will let everyone know when it happens….if it happens.  I hope that it does because Jimmer’s China experience is one to be shared.  Couldn’t have asked for a better season with a wonderful team and staff to share it with.  The fans were incredible and made him feel very welcome.  Can’t beat that.
Until next time…
Kay

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MVP AND FIRST TIME FATHER ALL IN THE SAME WEEK!

Last Monday night, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, a private plane soared through the night sky en route to the United States. On board that plane was a soon to be first time father who was anxiously awaiting touching down in Denver. This was the 3rd time in only a matter of weeks that this soon to be father had taken on the grueling task of traveling 6,696 miles from Shanghai, China to his home in Colorado. As he sat upon the beautiful aircraft gazing out over the sea, thoughts of fatherhood raced through his mind.

Fast forward. . . three days later, Jimmer (the soon to be father) and his wife Whitney,  are now at the hospital anticipating their big moment. Meanwhile in Sacramento, my cell phone was on high alert as I eagerly  awaited receiving the special announcement text, which could now come at anytime. As the night went on I received numerous texts, but not one of them was the one I was most hoping for. Then once two in the morning rolled around, I realized that little Wesley James was operating on her own time table.

Back in China, around the time that the sun was coming up in Denver,  Jimmer’s Shanghai Sharks were just taking to the court to play their first CBA playoff game in years. Obviously when they took to that court, they did so without their leading scorer. When tip-off ensued, that leading scorer was all of the 6,600 miles away in Denver, now on only two hours sleep as he started worrying that the birth of his new baby girl might not take place before his flight back to China was due to depart. Jimmer was now facing the dilemma of choosing to miss his flight, and in doing so assuring that he would also miss his teams 2nd playoff game, or choosing to keep his flight, which would mean he would have flown all of the way from China, only to just miss the once in a lifetime birth of his first child. Hours later that decision was made even more difficult, when Jimmer received the news that his Sharks had just dropped game 1 of their first playoff series by 40 points. Game 2 was only a day and a half away. The Sharks needed Jimmer, and Jimmer knew it.

Not too long after the news of the Sharks loss hit home, I was rolling out of bed. Immediately I took to my phone, expecting some good news to be waiting for me – but still no word had come. The waiting game continued.

Eventually came 1:46 PM Denver time. That very minute is a time that will be etched in the brain of my little brother for the rest of his life. It was at exactly 1:46, when a man who had achieved many milestones in his life as a successful basketball player, had suddenly reached a new milestone – one that would undoubtedly dwarf any others that he had ever reached. This is a man who had broken the Glens Falls High School all time scoring record, the Section 2 all time scoring record, the BYU all time scoring record, the BYU single game scoring record, the Mountain West Conference single game scoring record. . . a man who he had lead the NCAA in scoring in 2011, won the John Wooden Award, won the Oscar Robertson award, won the James Naismith National College Player of the Year award, won an ESPY for the male athlete of the year award. . . a man who reached his ultimate dream by being drafted into the NBA in the 2011. . . a man who had achieved all of these prestigious accomplishments and many more. . . but even with all of these incredible successes under his belt, none of them could even come close to comparing to the feeling that he felt at 1:46 on this past Friday afternoon, when that man officially became a father. Just hours before Jimmer was set to fly back to China, Wesley James Fredette made her appearance into the world. This beautiful baby girl was born just one day before her father’s birthday. Holding his little daughter in his arms for the first time was an experience that Jimmer said was the greatest moment of his life. The 13 hour flight to be there for that monumental moment was nothing. If the flight was 100 hours, it would have been a very small price for Jimmer to pay to be there for what he later told us was an absolutely surreal experience. One that will live on in his memory forever.

When I finally personally received the text that I had been waiting to receive for over 24 hours, it was a thrilling moment, but also for me, a very hard concept to even grasp. My little brother…  my once curly haired sidekick who had tagged along with my friends and I no matter where we went. . . my best little buddy who I used to bounce on the trampoline with in the backyard. . . my right hand man who was the water boy for every sports team I ever played on. . . my best friend, my main man who looked up to me as we grew up in that tiny little house in upstate New York. . . that same little guy is actually now a dad. It’s a testament to the fact that time stands still for no one, and with each passing second we are all closer to being greeted by life changing experiences. At 1:46 this past Friday, my little brother experienced one that he will cherish for the rest of his life. Congratulations Jimmer and Whitney! You guys are parents!

As for game 2 of the CBA playoffs, Jimmer and his team overcame a 15 point deficit to pull out an absolutely crucial overtime victory! Jimmer told me after the game he was exhausted, something anyone who knew what he had been through the past 48 hours completely expected. After only about 5 hours sleep in two days, combined with the emotion of seeing his daughter being brought into the world, plus another 13 hour flight on top of that, I had no illusions of Jimmer being a ball of energy on that court Sunday night. However, knowing what I know about my little bro, I had no doubt he was gonna fight through the fatigue – and that’s exactly what he did. He went on to score 39 points and grab 10 rebounds to help lead the Sharks to a season saving win. He willed himself to a big-time performance, including hitting what should have been a game winning basket with only 2 seconds left in regulation. If not for a heroic buzzer beater by the opposing team, that off balance shot off the glass that Jimmer sunk just prior, would have put the game away. Jimmer however got one more chance to be the hero, and this time, he didn’t leave anything to chance. He caught fire in overtime, hitting his signature 3’s from all over the court and putting the nail in the coffin with an against all odds outstanding performance. How he was able to dig deep and muster up enough energy to close out that game the way he did, is a question for the ages. Some might say it was adrenaline, some might say it was a second wind. . . me personally, I think it was inspiration. . . inspiration from a little girl named Wesley James Fredette.

The Shark’s series is now tied 1 to 1. The excitement of the CBA  Play-offs is just getting started. Stay tuned to find out how the rest of this thrilling season unfolds!

Also some breaking news! As I was finishing up this blog I got word that today Jimmer was officially named the MVP of the CBA for this season!!! What a week it has been for my bro. Congratulations once again J!! Another milestone that someday uncle T can share with little Wesley!

 

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Jimmer just born big sister Lindsay holding him

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Jimmer holding his daughter for the first time

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Their dog George wondering who that is.

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