Jimmer Fredette may be the favorite son of Glens Falls, New York, but he has a second family in Utah Valley that sacrifices vocal chords to support him every Wednesday and Saturday.
Utah County has a serious case of Jimmer fever. The condition spreads at work, church and PTA meetings. Even grandmas and girls aren’t immune. Jimmer Fredette is a condition known around the nation, but Utah Valley is tightly attached to our headliner. Utah Valley Magazine banked a few hard-to-come-by minutes with The Jimmer.
UV: When was your first visit to Provo and what was your impression?
Jimmer: I was about 10. We took my sister out here to college. She’s nine years older than I am. I thought it was a cool place. The apartment complex was fun, and there seemed to be a lot of things going on.
UV: What does your big sister think of all the attention you’re getting?
Jimmer: She really likes it. She’s glad that her little brother is achieving his goals. She’s always concerned with how I’m doing. She lives in Taylorsville, so I see her a lot. I go up there for Sunday dinner. She’s been there for me from the start here in Utah. She’s a loving sister.
UV: What do you think of being “adopted” by our valley?
Jimmer: It’s great to know I’m loved in the community and the area. That’s what you want as an athlete — to be loved by the fans and have them support you. You want them to respect your game, but you also want them to respect you as a person.
UV: You’ve been involved locally in helping charities like the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation and the Special Olympics. Why is giving back so important to you?
Jimmer: To me, giving back is more important than being a good athlete. Giving back is a huge part of all this. You have to remember you were in their position once. When I was their age, I was the kid who wanted to meet all the good athletes. I was the one looking for an autograph. That’s what I remember about growing up, so I know I need to be a good example to the young people I come in contact with.
UV: What are your other talents besides basketball?
Jimmer: One thing people don’t know is that I juggle — my uncle taught me how to do it. I’m also pretty good at chess. I used to play pool a lot, and we’d go down to the billiards hall. Other than that, I was pretty much always into sports. It didn’t matter what sport — kickball or foursquare or making up games. I didn’t play a lot of video games, and I still don’t. I’m not good at them. We don’t have a game system in our apartment, and I probably haven’t played since I came to college.
UV: How does Provo remind you of Glens Falls?
Jimmer: Provo is a close-knit community, and people know what’s going on. Both towns love sports and follow their teams. Obviously, Provo is bigger, but the feel is similar.
UV: How do you stay grounded amid all the attention?
Jimmer: Basketball is an important part of my life, and I’m going to try to make a living at it, but I’ve been taught that it’s not the most important. Eventually, basketball will be done. Hopefully I play for a long time and make a good living. But if people don’t like you, basketball doesn’t matter.
UV: What would you like to do after you’re done on the court?
Jimmer: I’m not sure, but I will have a degree in history. Maybe I’ll coach at the high school level. I don’t think I’d coach college. It’s too time consuming. I’ve also thought about opening a restaurant with my brother and friends.
UV: How has your time as a BYU student changed in the past month?
Jimmer: Everywhere I go people come up and ask for a picture or an autograph. That’s elevated in the last month. More people know me. It’s fun to be a part of it, though. I’m glad people are excited about the team. It’s good to be noticed. It comes with the territory.
UV: If you had one game in your life to replay, which would it be?
Jimmer: The one game I think most about was when we lost in the state championship game my senior year of high school. My school has never won a state championship, and it would have meant so much to our town.
UV: How do you shoulder being the face of a program, a school and a religion?
Jimmer: Being a basketball player brings questions. I’m glad to help our LDS faith out and be a missionary in this aspect. I’m glad they’re curious about my faith. Hopefully they get more curious and start asking more questions to friends and neighbors who are LDS.