I guess at this point to say that things have started out well for Jimmer with his basketball career in China would be a pretty big understatement. Within the first 10 days of Jimmer’s arrival across the Pacific, he lead his Sharks to victory in a tournament championship in Singapore, sealing the deal with a 43 point performance that included 3 clutch game winning free throws with zero time left on the clock, and in the process receiving MVP honors. Now here we are, 14 games in, and Jimmer has helped propel the Sharks, a team who didn’t make the playoffs last season, to the number 1 ranked team in the CBA with a 13 – 1 record! Along the way, Jimmer has teetered at and around a 40 point per game average. He’s consistently gone back and forth as the leading scorer in a league that hosts a barrage of American talent, such as former NBA All-Stars Carlos Boozer and Josh Smith. . . just to name a couple. It has been a thrilling experience for my family and I, watching Jimmer wow crowds all over China with thrilling performances from the YouTube setting of our Apple TV. In his last two games, Jimmer was on the road, first putting up a 44 point showing against one of the leagues top teams… a performance which I would argue is his best so far, shooting an outstanding 18 of 27 from the field. He then followed that game up with a 36 point game Sunday night, an outing where Jimmer only played half of the game due to CBA rules involving imported players (players who are not Chinese citizens).
In my first Jimmer update, I ended my blog by saying, “Could this be the beginning of Jimmermania in China?” Now, 14 games into the season, I would say that it looks like that could very possibly end up being the case. Jimmer has begun being recognized readily on the streets of Shanghai, being stopped frequently by eager fans for autographs and selfies. Jimmer also just recenlty signed a shoe deal with a company called 361! More to come on that soon. . .
The excitement is well underway in Shanghai, and the Sharks prolific owner, Yao Ming, has certainly become a strong believer in the potential of his red hot ball club. Recently my father, who is now back over in China with Jimmer, was asked by an acquaintance if he could deliver a book to Yao on his behalf. Without knowing the details of the book or what it is all about, my father obliged, and when he encountered Yao the other day, he tried to give him the book. Yao looked at my father and said, “A book? No sorry, I can’t take a book.” My father was kind of puzzled by Yao’s response. Yao then elaborated on why he couldn’t take the book. You see, in the Chinese language, the way that you say words, can at times be just as important as what words you actually say. The tone and voice inflection that you use when reciting a word can be very crucial. So Yao politely explained to my father that the word “BOOK”, is enunciated in the same tone and inflection as the word “LOSE,”and as a result, it would be bad luck for Yao to accept a book during the season. Not wanting to jinx his squad, Yao respectfully declined, but said he would gladly accept the book when the season is over. This says to me that the great Yao is all in! He wants his team to reach it’s full potential, and he’s not willing to do ANYTHING to gamble with that in anyway! I must say, I absolutely loved hearing that story. I’ve always loved and respected Yao Ming, but the more I hear about him, the more and more I like him!
The Sharks are on a roll! Can they take this momentum all the way to the CBA finals? Could Yao have just constructed the team, with his superstar American import (Jimmer), that will bring a CBA title to Shanghai? I certainly don’t want to make any predictions or get too far ahead of myself, but I must say, with the way the Sharks are playing right now, they are gonna be ONE TOUGH TEAM TO BEAT. So let’s keep it rolling Sharks!! You’re certainly doing Shanghai very proud.