TEAM FREDETTE

TEAM FREDETTE…..It’s a name in the sport’s world that was first known nationally because of the TBT basketball tournament.  TBT stands for THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT so putting the basketball tournament at the end of that last sentence is sort of redundant but it’s for those that aren’t aware of those initials. 

Last year in the 2018 TBT, Team Fredette came up just short of the finals in a thrilling succession of wins to get there. Jimmer played on the team at the request of his older brother TJ, who is co-manager along with Dan Britten.  For the last 3 years, Tj recruited and put together a great group of talented guys and a coach who would become Team Fredette.  This year Jimmer did not play but was assistant coach (for the opening game in Salt Lake) along with his former BYU coach, Dave Rose.  I loved seeing them together once more.  Again Tj recruited a great group of guys, but unfortunately suffered a very close loss in the second round. 

Their claim to fame in the TBT so far is that Team Fredette staged the greatest comeback in TBT history to come from behind by over 20 points in the second half, which by the way is only 18 minutes long in TBT.  They put on a shooting display that was phenomenal.  Very exciting. The next game could have gone either way in the end, but it was not meant to be.  Besides being a little frustrating at times, it’s an exciting and enjoyable experience for all that are a part of that team, not only for the basketball, but for the social atmosphere and lifelong friendships that have been formed. 

More recently and locally, the TEAM FREDETTE name has been used for a 5 week summer basketball league. It was something that we had never tried before so we didn’t know what to expect.  A parent named James Cuyler, actually came to us the year before and asked our permission to use the TEAM FREDETTE name to start a summer league over in another area park. We want to give him credit for initiating the program. He does a great job encouraging and recruiting kids to join the league. This year we decided to bring the program over to Crandall Park in Glens Falls, which is a more visible venue to the public.  We weren’t sure about how many would sign up for the league and if we would have enough kids to form teams to play each other.  To our surprise, over 130 kids signed up (boys and girls)…. so we all got to work.  

Coming from a very sports orientated family, I can say that I have watched hundreds, if not thousands, of games over my lifetime. My father was a coach for over 35 years, 3 brothers played and coached, my 3 children played, my husband played and coached and even now my grandchildren are playing…over the years I have watched summer leagues, AAU, middle school and high school games, college games, professional games and still going. 

So for me to sit and watch this Team Fredette Summer Basketball League was second nature to me. I parked myself under a shade tree with a table in front of me. I guess I had the easiest job at the games because I was sort of the information table and could direct them to bottles of water or distribute what was needed like extra shirts, schedules, whistles, tape, pencils, etc.  On a side note, the chair that I brought and sat in at every game was my father’s sturdy, colorful, folding chair. It was one of the things I saved for myself after he passed on.  He has been long gone but it seems like the chair has a spirit of its own and the auro around it still lingers. Maybe his spirit is still there.  It was the one that he used to sit in at every game that he could find to watch after he was retired from teaching and coaching… high school summer basketball league games, football games, soccer games, baseball games, including his grandchildren’s games.  He would sit there with his sharp coaching eyes and access the talent that he was seeing. I feel like I carry on that tradition….something about that chair. Maybe someday one of my children will keep it.  I hope so.  

I absolutely loved watching the kids play.  It was a wonderful action-packed family atmosphere with parents and grandparents gathered on the grass to watch their kids.  There was soccer and softball going on also at the same time in the fields. Lots of action! To me, it felt like old times and brought back memories of the many times our kids played at Crandall Park.  I remember how excited Jimmer was to finally be old enough to play with his older brother TJ and father in pick up games on those courts. Crandall Park has a real history to it with our family.  How good it felt to see this new generation of kids playing and enjoying team basketball on these courts again.  As I watched the kids, both boys and girls, because of my background and maybe because of that chair, I could pick out the kids that were advanced in their skills, the kids that had that real killer instinct in sports, the kids that had no idea how to play, the kids that had obviously been taught some fundamentals of the game, and then the kids that were only there because their parents wanted them to have some physical activity this summer. That was ok too!  But I can tell you for sure, by the end of those 5 weeks, the kids learned how to run up and down the court and be a part of a team.  The first few games on the courts were not easy because it was very hot and very humid so I have to hand it to the kids, as well as the coaches and refs, for hanging in there throughout it all.

Our son Tj was gone for most of the league because he was out West at the TBT tournament with our professional Team Fredette but he was able to be at the last few games at Crandall Park.  He said he enjoyed the fun atmosphere of the league and was able to talk to some groups about the importance of setting goals.  He told the story about “The Contract” that he entered into with Jimmer. We actually still have the original contract written on that beige crummy paper. As long as I can remember, Jimmer’s goal was to be a professional basketball player and make it to the NBA.  Even way back to grade school when the kids were expected to write something in their journal everyday, Jimmer always wrote about something pertaining to basketball.  He never wavered from his belief that he was going to play in the NBA someday and wrote down many times that he was going to make it to the NBA even though he was only in the 3rd grade. I still have the journals. Somehow he absolutely knew what his future was going to be. I know that a lot of kids say that when they are young and we all think it’s cute… but Jimmer really meant it! He lived and breathed it.  The seed was planted in his brain at about the age of 3 and that desire just grew and grew.  One day as Tj watched him workout in high school, he could see that Jimmer had real talent and fire in his eyes, so that day TJ whipped out that old piece of paper, quickly drew up a contract that Jimmer signed, as well as Tj as a witness, saying that he was setting a goal to do all of the work necessary to make it to the NBA.  TJ half jokingly said, (but was actually serious), something to the effect that you know Jimmer this is a legally binding contract so you can’t break it. Jimmer didn’t joke at all.  He was never going to break that contract so he worked hard every day with that unshakable determination and commitment to reach that goal…and he did it!  So with one of the groups, Tj talked about the importance of setting goals…some short term goals and some long term goals. He told them that it doesn’t have to be in basketball or even in any sport, but find out what your passion is and go work towards meeting your goals with that passion. Plant the seed in your brain and go get it…and your never too old to set goals for yourself.  

In our program we try to instill in them the value of making good decisions in their lives.  Good decisions build good character. Our mission statement is simple and the intent of our programs is this:

“Team Fredette’s mission is to help young people strengthen their character through training and playing fundamentally sound, competitive basketball.

Players will be strongly encouraged and reminded often how important good choices will be for their future.

Players will learn the importance of respect, including self- respect, manners, self- control, hard work, teamwork and sacrifice.”

I said this before but I will say it again…never once during that whole 5 week session did I hear any swearing, see any fighting or trash talking, and saw no one intentionally trip or try to hurt another player.  Instead I saw kids that encouraged their teammates, gave up shots to pass to their teammates, helped each other up if they fell on the court, pats on the back or high fives after making shots or a good pass, and on an on. Always a thank you and please when asking me for something.  Kids offered to help us carry things back and forth to the car.   I saw friendships formed after starting out a little shy or hesitant about playing with kids that they didn’t know.  They all grew in many ways, maybe learned a little bit about the game, about interaction with other kids, about teamwork, and hopefully they will take some lasting memories of their time in the TEAM FREDETTE SUMMER LEAGUE.  I know that I will.  It was wonderful to see.

Before I close I have to thank so many people.  I hesitate to mention any names because I don’t want to leave anyone out but here goes…First and foremost, we want to thank the Buttino family, Debi, Nick, Dante and Tia. I don’t know what we would have done without their help. They drove down from Chestertown every week (3 times a week) lugging tables, chairs, basketballs, water, and the kitchen sink. They came early to help set up and at the end help clean up. They loaded up their van and then helped to load up our car at the end of the night. Debi spent countless hours on the computer sending emails out to all of the registrants to keep them informed, answering the phone and answering the many questions that the parents had.   Things kept changing because of parent’s requests so she had to keep updating the registrants on a daily basis or hourly basis sometimes. She did a great job and she did it cheerfully.  She also took many pictures and downloaded them on the Team Fredette facebook page.  Way to go Debi!  

Nick Buttino is one of nicest men on the face of the Earth.  I really mean that.  He is kind. He is helpful. He is encouraging to all of the kids.  He is patient and he is humble.  He carried those scoring tables in and out of his van at every game.  He helped to coach where needed. He kept score and kept time with the blazing sun shining down on him throughout the games. He was there at every single game and all we had to do is to ask him anything and he would do it.  What a tremendous help he was.  Thank you Nick. 

Their children Dante and Tia played on their separate teams, but they also helped us in any way that they could.  They were referees, they coached, and they carried things in and out of the vehicles.  Their help was invaluable to us and we thank them so much. They are following the example of their parents to be helpful and to give service.  Wonderful kids and I’ll miss seeing them. 

A big debt of gratitude to Brian Travis who traveled to be with us and help with coaching, reffing, even playing one time to fill in for a missing kid on a team.  He gave of his time to have many free sessions of basketball training in the oppressive heat. He would drive up after a long day at work to help in any way that he could.  He is a skilled and knowledgeable basketball and agility trainer and we are happy to have him on board with Team Fredette for our Contract Training program.  Josh Horton, a former Argyle high school and college player, joined us for a few sessions to help with basketball drills and training methods.  He is a terrific guy and a great basketball player also and we thank him so much.

James Cuyler came to every game to coach his son’s team and any team that needed a coach.  He also reffed many games. I could hear him shout out encouraging, constructive words to his teams.  James is a part of Team Fredette and will also be working in our “Contract Training” program.  He recently was hired by the North Warren School system to be a head coach for the varsity team. He’ll be one busy guy. Thank you James for all that you do for Team Fredette.

To the parents…thank you for your support of our Team Fredette Summer League and beyond.  Without you, of course there would be no local Team Fredette.  Thank you to the parents that volunteered to coach or to ref, to keep the score, and the time or do anything that was helpful to us.  Thank you for bringing your children each week and staying to watch them. Thank you to the grandparents that came to watch also.  You don’t realize how important it is to show an interest in your children or grandchildren’s endeavors no matter what it is. They need your approval, encouragement and attention as they are forming their self image and building their self-confidence little by little.  I could see the thrill in the kid’s eyes as they made a basket or made a good pass, and they would look over to see if their loved ones were watching. Makes me happy just thinking about their reaction when they knew they did good in their parent’s eyes. 

To all of those that came to fill in for Al or help in any way, thank you!!! I don’t want to name names for fear of missing someone but you know who you are. There is a group of friends that are always willing to help us. Thank you to the refs that came in their “official” reffing shirts.  That always gives a special mental boost to those kids playing in those games.

Also a big thank you to the Glens Falls City Hall Rec. Dept for allowing us to reserve those 2 Crandall Park courts for the 5 weeks of basketball.  The city workers were kind enough to bring benches and picnic tables over for the convenience and comfort of the teams and the parents. Also for the days it rained, we are so grateful to Sam at the Ft. Edward school for allowing us to use the High School gym. You were a lifesaver! Thank you! 

Last, but not least, since it’s me that writing this, I’d like to acknowledge all of the work that my husband Al and my children do to help this venture of Team Fredette. Al did a tremendous amount of work to put the summer league teams together.  Believe me it wasn’t an easy job.  He worked long into the night to get them all set. Our daughter Lindsay is a whiz on the computer so she is a great asset for us and always willing to help in any way she can.  Tj will oversee everything.  He likes organization.  He will also do agility/basketball training in Contract Training.  He’s very knowledgeable in both basketball and agility training because he has been around it for so long.  He trained also as a little guy with his uncle Lee Taft, one of the best in the world.  TJ is also a great motivational speaker so it’s something that we will incorporate into Team Fredette from time to time.  Then there is Jimmer who has limited time but is always willing to help and appear at anything we ask him to do.  He never hesitates. If he can do it, he will do it for us. He keeps an eye on all that we do and enjoys watching the kids learn and grow like he did.  He is actually coming to Glens Falls for a short stay (has to be best man in a family wedding) and agreed to do an appearance at the clinic we have planned for August 31st.  Lee Taft, my brother, has also agreed to come to do the clinic with his great knowledge and experience of teaching agility, speed, footwork etc.  He has agreed to be someone that we can always consult if there are any questions from us or the parents of our athletes.  Thank you to him. We are so thrilled and grateful to both Lee and Jimmer to give up their time and energy to do this for Team Fredette.

One more thing….a professional photographer, who is also a huge basketball fan, happened to be there at the park when the league started. After seeing all that was going on he came back the next day to take some wonderful pictures of the whole scene.  I’ve seen some of them and they are beautifully done.  He will have them available soon for any parent that wants to purchase one of their son or daughter.  We will let you know. 

So that’s it!  Team Fredette has a lot of help from many different people and without them it wouldn’t be possible.  Al and I are not young chickens anymore so we appreciate all the help we can get. It was a labor of love for our area youth. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Kay

Here is the link in case you are interested in registering your child for the clinic coming up in 2 weeks. What a deal you are getting! 

https://campscui.active.com/orgs/JimmerJamBasketballCamp?season=2684708

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The famous contract…mispelled word and all.

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

Recap on Jimmer’s All-Star weekend

Sunday night, with the spotlight shining brightly upon them, the superstars of the CBA put on a show for the wide-eyed Beijing crowd. The CBA All-Star weekend was well underway, and Jimmer was honored and excited to be a part of it. It turned out to be a really big weekend for Jimmer. In front of swarms of media, thousands of excited fans, and even some fellow former NBA colleagues, such as Stephon Marbury, Andre Blatch, and Marshon Brooks. . . Jimmer was able to capitalize on this wonderful opportunity.

He started out the weekend by unveiling his new shoe to the Chinese public as well as the world of social media. His shoe deal with 361 is now official, and for the rest of the season he will be sporting his sharp new shark blue sneakers. A lot of people have been asking us where they can get his shoe, and I promise as soon as that information is available we will be sure to make an immediate announcement!

Jimmer went on from unveiling his new shoe, to shooting his way into the finals of the 3-point shooting contest which was held Sunday night at halftime of the main event. If you haven’t heard by now, I’m proud to announce that Jimmer came away the 3-point king, winning the competition with a high of 22 points in the championship round! His 3-point prowess was on full display as he dazzled the crowd with a barrage of beyond the ark bombs, and in the end was rewarded with the CBA 3-point contest trophy.

From there Jimmer went on to have a very successful All-Star game, where he lead all scorers with a 32 point performance, knocking down a team high 6 treys. Unfortunately he fell just short of MVP honors due to his team losing a nail biter that went right down to the wire.

On the bright side however, during the All-Star game Jimmer was able record his first overseas dunk, rising up and throwing it down off of a steal that he got near half court in the 3rd quarter. His teammates rose up with smiles and excitement upon seeing Jimmer catch his first CBA jam. Even Marbury, who was on the opposing team, couldn’t help but run up to Jimmer with a big smile and give him a hug. At mid court Jimmer and Marbury, the former high school legend from Coney Island, who Jimmer had eagerly watched play in the Glens Falls Civic Center when he was only 7 years old, embraced with smiles as Steph said to him. . . “I didn’t know you could dunk?!” It was a special moment to cap off a very special weekend.

Jimmer said he had a wonderful time at the CBA All-Star festivities and he was shown a lot of love and support by coaches, players, media, and the fans.  He enjoyed his time in Beijing, but now it’s back to business! The home-stretch of the season is now upon the Shanghai Sharks. Having lost 2 straight for the first time of the season coming into All-Star break, can they re-group and get back on the dominating track where they had been throughout most of the season? With a big target on their back, it won’t be easy. It will, without a doubt, be a tough fight to the finish for the Sharks as they continue to determinedly push forward on their quest for a CBA title. Stay tuned to see how the rest of this exciting season unfolds!

Here are some great behind the scene’s pictures of Jimmer this weekend, along with some footage of him catching his dunk courtesy of Jimmerwatch.

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Jimmer’s All-Star CBA weekend

Here are some good behind the scenes shots of Jimmer at All-Star weekend in Beijing. Today he advanced to the finals of the three point competition which will be held tomorrow at halftime of the All-Star game. He’s had a great time so far hanging out with Stephon Marbury and other star players throughout the league. I will have more pictures and a full recap of the weekend by Monday so stay tuned!

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friendly visit to a school….

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Bejing air is tough….had to protect their lungs coming in to the school.

 

 

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practicing in the gym before All Star Weekend begins…

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All of the ALL- STARS 2016-2017 season

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warming up on the court for the 3 point contest…

 

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ready for his turn…my father must have had good seats to take this picture.

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Nice arena….nice uniform

 

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Jimmer’s up…

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made it to the finals tomorrow night at half time during the game.

 

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Shanghai Shark reps at the game…

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Jimmer’s new signature shoe.  He is debuting them here at the All Star game. He has partnered with a sporting goods company called 361.

 

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If you want a Shanghai Sharks T shirt, go to http://www.kayz3.com

HAPPY “KNEW” YEAR

As soon as that extravagantly bright, world renowned, giant crystal ball dropped in the mecca of New York on Saturday night, I knew that I was ready to make 2017 the greatest year of my life. However, yesterday (New Years Day) I took some time to reflect on 2016, and as I did, something fairly profound struck me.

Well before 2017 rang in, I already KNEW that there were things in my life that I really needed to work on.  I KNEW that I needed to work harder on trying to reach my goals. I KNEW that I had to get rid of the unnecessary negative thinking that plagued me at times. I KNEW that I needed to make a better effort at keeping in touch with the people who I care about the most. I KNEW that I needed to continue to strengthen my faith everyday, and that I had to keep on working towards being a more positive person. I KNEW that I needed to cut back on sweets and improve my diet. I KNEW that I needed to work on being a more tolerant person, and that I had to try to stop being judgemental.  I KNEW all of these things and more! So now the question becomes, if I already knew of these crucial changes I needed to make, then why in the world would I wait until January 1st to try and make them?

Unfortunately, every year as the New Year gets closer, we use our New Year’s resolutions as excuses to procrastinate doing the things we know we need to do.  It’s very easy to fall into the, “I’ll start doing this, or I’ll stop doing that after New Year’s” mentality. In all honesty, these are our lives. We know what we have to do. . . we KNEW it all along. From this point on, I believe we should make a vow to ourselves, that we will do our very best every single day to try and be better people in every aspect of our lives. So that means that when early December rolls around in 2017, and we notice we’re coming up short in some way, we won’t wait until January 1st to start making the improvements we need to make.  It also means that any shortcomings we vowed to work on when 2017 struck, we must continue working on as 2017 progresses and eventually comes to an end.

Life is a never ending quest for perfection, and even though we may not ever fully get there, it certainly doesn’t mean we should ever stop trying.  I hope you all have an amazing 2017. . . and remember, if you catch yourself slipping in any way, don’t wait until the New Year to fix it. . . you can always add in something new to work on once January 1st hits.

So Happy New Year to all, and whatever you want out of you life for 2017. . . start going after it now, and don’t stop unil you get it!!

MEETING BILL WALTON

jimmer-bill-walton-maxLast week I mentioned that my brother recently had the opportunity to catch up with former Celtic great and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton (who you can see in this picture that Jimmer recently sent me), decked out in his trademark tie dye tee-shirt as he stands next to Jimmer and his never hard to find 7 foot 3 inch teammate – who I know simply as Max. What I didn’t tell you about, was the unforgettable time when I myself had the opportunity to meet big Bill Walton in the tunnel at the old Arco Arena in Sacramento.

One of the many cool things about having a brother in the NBA is that when you go to the games, you get to enter the arena through the same tunnel that the players run through to take the floor. Never one to get star-struck myself, I grew pretty accustomed to walking shoulder to shoulder with some of basketball’s finest superstars such as Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. In fact, when walking out of the tunnel to take my seat at these NBA games, I never knew who I might run into. Occasionally, celebrities ranging from Floyd Mayweather(who is a regular at NBA arena’s), to Drake, to Ben Stiller would stroll past me. My walks through the tunnel also would provide me with some pretty cool experiences, such as –
physically running into Russell Westbrook (who was very gracious, saying excuse me when he nearly ran me over in the hallway), to hanging out with MMA
star Urijah Faber, to even having a great conversation with New York City native and NBA strongman Ron Artest. However, with all of these really cool experiences that I was able to have in the tunnel, I would have to say that the coolest of these experiences, was the time that I met my man Bill Walton.

I remember when Jimmer was with the Kings, before one of his games I was chatting with one of the friendly security staff members at Arco Arena, when all of the sudden I heard this extremely familiar voice echoing throughout the tunnel. I turned around to see who it was, and right there standing in front of me was the legend himself – the one and only former Celtic superstar Big Bill Walton. He was coming up to shake the staff members hand whom I was speaking with, before taking to the court to call the game – as one of the Kings TV announcers. After the greeting, this staff member who I’d grown to know well, was gracious enough to introduce me to Bill. Upon hearing that I was TJ Fredette – Jimmer’s older brother – you would have thought that I was the celebrity with the way Bill excitedly reacted. Bill reached out, gave me a long firm hand shake and a smile, and said to me – “So this is the great older brother I keep hearing about.” I guess it’s fair to say I was very taken back by Bill’s reaction to meeting me. Here he is, One of the greatest NBA players of all time, a Hall of Famer, and a legend. . . and he was excited to meet me?!

We continued from there to have a great conversation for the next 15 minutes or so, until a Kings PR person had to come up and tell Bill, he’d better hurry and get to the court before the game started. Bill proceeded to talk to me for another 5 minutes – to the point where I almost felt inclined to remind him he needed to get out to the court and get ready for the broadcast.

Eventually Bill did break away and take his place behind the scores table to call the game. But all I could think of after my conversation with him was… what an amazing guy. Even with the great level of status and celebrity that he has in NBA circles, this man not only gracious enough to take the time to go out of his way to talk to me, but he also made sure that he showed a genuine interest in me as a person. He could have easily just said hi and went on his way – but he didn’t. Instead he showed me the type of respect and personal attention that made me feel like I was special. Now that really says a lot about Bill Walton as a human being in my eyes. If only we all treated the people we meet on a regular basis with that same positivity and respect, regardless of who they are and what they have accomplished in their life. I know that if we all did, this world would be such a better place.

Soon after I took my seat for the game that night, I received a text message from one of my friends who was watching the game back home. It turns out that Bill had also met the rest of my family that night in the tunnel, and when he took the air to call that game, one of the early statements that he made on air, was this – “I just had the  opportunity of meeting Jimmer Fredette’s family including his older brother TJ in the back tunnel, and I must say – it was one of the greatest moments in my life. What a special family.”

Now I know that Bill was only joking when he said “it was one of the greatest moments in his life,” and it was certainly just said in fun, but the fact is, the man displayed incredible class with how he treated us, and he left my family and I with a wonderful memory – that we will surely never forget.