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

china welcome 1china welcome 2china welcome 3china welcome 4

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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.

china picture

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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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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….

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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BIG NIGHT IN MY PARENT’S HOMETOWN…

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 back on the court, and giving back off the court

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.

 

 

 

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Jimmer explaining techniques at clinic in Shanghai gym

 

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My father and Jimmer running dribbling drills

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BYU Jimmer fan in the crowd…

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Americans that knew this BYU term….

JIMMER UPDATE – STORE OPENING, TWITTER, AND INJURY UPDATE

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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start of the photo shoot

 

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poster of Jimmer in the back

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grand opening at a 361 sporting good store

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Jimmer appeared on China TV for preview of 361 gear