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!
Six days from now Jimmer will be celebrating his 28th birthday, five days from now his team will tip off Shanghai’s first CBA play-off game in years, and four days from now, Jimmer’s wife Whitney is due to give birth to their first born child back in Denver, Colorado. I’d say that these very special life events could be the cause of Jimmer being on a high. So I guess it was only right that he lived up to that high by putting up a career high, and not just a professional career high – a lifetime career high!
In what turned out to be the best basketball game I have seen all year at any level, my little brother did something historic. He finished the exhilarating, double overtime, barnburner of a battle in a fashion that would make his most faithful fans have joyful flashbacks of the Jimmermania days. . . and then some. His greatest scoring performance in his college career came against New Mexico when he dropped 52 in the Mountain West Conference tournament. In his high school and AAU years I recall a lot of high 40’s, a couple 50’s, and if I’m correct even a 60-point performance. Although all of those magnetic showings were beyond impressive, they all paled in comparison to what Jimmer just did Sunday night in the heart of China (Sunday morning here in the states). Jimmer recorded a personal, lifetime best, 73 points in game that can now be considered an instant classic in the ranks of the CBA. It was an inspiring affair. It was a special moment that will definitely never be forgotten. It was a back and forth slugfest where both the Sharks and the opposing Lions played a lights out game. The kind of game where you might find yourself breathing heavy just from watching the exhausted players fight through the fatigue of a game that didn’t ever want to end. Unfortunately for the Sharks they were edged out in the end, but regardless of the outcome, it was an incredible, event played out in front of an ultra animated crowd, who can be credited with providing an absolutely intoxicating atmosphere.
Now this is it. The regular season is officially over. All the early morning training sessions, unforgiving road trips, and season long sacrifices have lead to this. The CBA Play-offs! This Friday the long awaited competition will kick off with a bang in the nation of China. Will the Sharks do what they set out 5 months ago to do? Will Jimmer be able to ride out the momentum of his historic 73-point night? I know I for one, cannot wait to find out! Stay tuned for updates on the Shanghai Sharks as their play-off ride begins!
If the phrase, “time flies when you’re having fun,” has any merit, and I believe it does, then Jimmer’s trip home to Denver over Chinese New Year break must have felt like it was over within less than a nano second. I mean let’s face it, when you’re dealing with a 13 hour flight one way, the amount of hours you spend relaxing on your four day trip is literally almost equivalent to the amount of hours you spend in the air. Some might say that with that kind of flight to vacation time ratio, the long haul across the planet might not have even been worth the jet lag for Jimmer. However, I guess anyone who would say that, surely didn’t take into account exactly what Jimmer was going home for.
The drastic ups and downs of Jimmer’s roller coaster of a career could make the rides at Six Flags look like a slide at Chuck E. Cheese. The highs and lows can be overwhelming, and at times be very difficult to put into proper perspective. Fortunately for Jimmer, throughout it all, there has always been one crucial constant. Whether he was lighting it up at the Garden, sitting at the end of the bench in New Orleans, gazing out the window of his hotel room after a D League back to back in Des Moines, with 30 below winds whipping across the cornfields outside, or he was clear across the Pacific Ocean, hitting game winning free throws in Singapore in front of a crowd full of ecstatic non-English speaking fans, he’s always had that one constant to help him stay grounded. That one constant, is the exact thing that he was beyond thrilled to hop on a 13 hour flight last week to go see…. even if it was only for a short while. That one constant, is his family. His wife Whitney who he adores, and who is now carrying their first child due to be born in less than a month, and his picture perfect Golden Retriever named George, who lights up like a stadium every time Jimmer returns home. His family was there before the fame, during the fame, and will still be there when the fame is long gone. They’ve been there through his most challenging moments, to take on his struggles with him, and help lift him up when the pitfalls of an unforgiving spotlight tried to keep him down. They were there to celebrate with him, when the thrills of success were thrust upon him in abundance. They were there to help him make some of the toughest decisions he’s ever had to make in his life (well, maybe George had no part in the decision making process, but certainly Whitney). Those tough decisions include the decision to make a heartfelt sacrifice to leave his family behind and travel across the world to begin a new, exciting, but somewhat scary chapter of his career, in a country that he had never been to, and really knew nothing about. They were there through it all, and are there at this very moment, as his career in China begins to soar to heights we never knew would be possible on another continent. Knowing that they are there. . . there at home, waiting for him to return after months of being away. . . there on those days when it seems like everything on the court is going against him. . . there when a sports reporter paints a picture of negativity on the canvas of his career, there when he puts up 51 and leads his team to a big victory. . . but even more importantly, there when everything goes quiet, when the spotlight is no longer targeting his every step, when the critics no longer have him on their radar, and the fans have moved on to the next big thing. Those are the moments when Jimmer realizes more than ever, that he already has everything he needs. His wife, and his family…that is the one constant. They are what made 26 total hours on a plane for only a four day stay, way beyond worth it for Jimmer. They are always there, and that’s what keeps him grounded, and that’s what keeps him happy. . . no matter what.
…Now for a quick update on the Sharks. Coming off of the Chinese New Year Break, the Sharks were able to fight off a rusty start, to come back after being down 14 points to Qingdao, picking up another big victory and keeping their undefeated home streak alive. Jimmer lead the team with 37. Now the Sharks prepare for the last couple weeks of the regular season as they fight tooth and nail to enter the playoff picture as the number one seed. With some red hot teams out there neck and neck with the Sharks, such as Carlos Boozer and the Guangdong Southern Tigers, hanging on to that one seed will certainly be a challenge – but one I believe that Shanghai is up for! Stay tuned to see how the rest of this exciting regular season unfolds, as the CBA gears up for an intense, competitive playoff run!
Here are some pictures and a video of some of the beautiful sites in Shanghai.
This past week in the small town of Whitehall, New York, the town where my parents grew up, something very inspirational took place at the local High School. The Whitehall Railroaders varsity basketball team took the court Friday night in front of a packed hometown crowd to play what would certainly be the most memorable game of the season. During the game, one of the players, a young man by the name of Evan St Clair, reached the special milestone of scoring the 1,000th point of his high school career. Evan is a very talented player who comes from a gifted athletic family, and myself and the rest of the Fredettes want to congratulate him on his wonderful achievement. He definitely has a very bright future as a talented athlete, and we wish him the best of luck with the rest of his career!
As special as Evan’s 1000 point achievement was, it wasn’t the only exciting moment of Friday night’s game. Evan’s teammate and first cousin, another talented St Clair named Danny, also gave the Railroader enthusiasts reason to get up out of their seats and cheer. Danny’s presence on that court alone Friday night was cause for a standing ovation. Just by stepping out on that gym floor, sporting that maroon and white Whitehall jersey, Danny provided everyone in attendance a true moment of heart warming inspiration. His fight for that very moment, to be able to be back on that court with his childhood friends, representing his school and his community with pride, was one of unwavering determination and bravery. A fight that no kid should ever have to endure, but one that Danny proved to be strong enough to take on.
For awhile now, Danny StClair has been battling a very challenging bout of cancer. I can only imagine the obstacles that stood in his way as he literally fought for his life. . . but Danny showed everyone this past week, that fighting for his life meant that he was fighting for more than just his survival. He was fighting to get back the same life that he had before he was diagnosed with cancer. He was fighting for that moment when he could lace up his sneakers, throw on his warm ups, and run out on to that court with his teammates once again. . . and this past Friday night, after months of grueling adversity, that’s exactly what he did. All the pain, all the tribulation, and all the moments of doubt, had finally been overcome when he touched the ball for the first time during Friday night’s game. His story has certainly inspired me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been uplifted by Danny’s courage and resilience.
What an amazing night it was in the little town of Whitehall. I know that my grandfather, a man who devoted his whole life to Whitehall athletics and working with young athletes to help mold them into successful people on and off the playing field, was certainly looking down from heaven with pride as Evan and Danny represented the town in such a monumental way. So I just wanted to say Congratulations guys! You boys really put on a show. It was an inspiring performance that so many of us, will surely never forget.
Jimmer was thrilled to make his return back to the court this past Friday night in Shanghai, where he came off the bench to drop 29 in the Sharks blowout of Fujian. After dropping two straight coming into All-Star break, Shanghai is now back on track, having won their last 5 straight. Last night I talked briefly with Jimmer to see how he was feeling after his first game back from the injury that sidelined him for the last two games. Much to my delight he assured me that his foot is getting better everyday and that it feels very close to being back to 100%! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on his progress.
One of the great things about having a platform such as the one Jimmer has through his basketball success, is having the incredible opportunity to be able to make a big impact on people’s lives just by doing little things. This past week Jimmer was able to capitalize on a couple of those special opportunities, by putting on a one day clinic for some young basketball enthusiasts followed by giving an inspirational speech to some of the local Church youth. Jimmer is humbled by these fulfilling experiences and he is always so willing to generously give of his time. With all of the on-court accolades and successes, nothing is more important to Jimmer than the positive impact that he has been able to have off of the court.
This week Jimmer will have the opportunity to return home for 4 full days during the Chinese New Year break. He is thrilled to be able to go home and see his wife who is expecting their first child in March and his beloved Golden Retriever, George. After months of being away, this will be a special treat for Jimmer. When he returns it will be the final stretch of the season for him and the Sharks. Tune in to see the final push for a CBA title!
Below is some footage of an interview that Jimmer did in conjunction with his 361 sporting good company partnership and another one of him coming off the court of a game….compliments of my Father. Also check out some new gallery pictures on my homepage.
Thanks for stopping by.
This past week was a pretty crazy week for Jimmer. After returning home from All-Star weekend, he immediately took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for one of the 361 stores in Shanghai. The event went really well and a large, eager crowd turned out to catch a glimpse of Jimmer in his new 361 gear.
After his successful appearance, Jimmer and the Sharks were able to start off the second half of their season with a bang, avenging a prior loss with a dominating performance. Jimmer was able to record a game high 37 points in the match up as his team cruised to a 30 point victory!
Unfortunately Jimmer’s next game wouldn’t turn out as well. Early in the 2nd quarter he came up hobbling from an injury to his foot. He had to sit out the remainder of the game and has been sidelined since. The good news is that his team was able to rally together and pull out two big wins without him in the line-up. Also to add to that good news, Jimmer said his foot is feeling better every day and he feels that there is a strong possibility he will be back on the court by next week! We will keep you up to date on his progress.
Lastly, today Jimmer’s twitter account was hacked. I’m sure some of you might have seen his tweets today and were wondering what was going on, so I just wanted to make this announcement so people would be aware of the problem. His twitter is now back to normal with Jimmer once again in control. Thanks to all of his supporters who gave us the heads up on this unfortunate hacking, we appreciate you all looking out!
Today Jimmer is doing his second photo shoot for 361, where he will also be picking out designs for a new line of Jimmer clothing which will be coming out this fall! Exciting stuff! We will be sure to keep you all updated on the progress with the new line. Stay tuned for more updates and pictures coming soon! Here are some good behind the scenes shots and video of his ribbon cutting.