Pelican on Point
GREG MILES PHOTOGRAPH
The name Jimmer Fredette feels right for the Pelicans point/shooting guard, an affable, clean-cut Mormon athlete with sheepish charm. But don’t let his humble demeanor fool you: This guy can score, and he did just that in the pre-season opener against the Miami Heat, pulling in a team high of 17 points. Before signing on with the Pelicans, the former Brigham Young University star played for the Chicago Bulls and the Sacramento Kings, doing well but never really getting that breakthrough to star status (although he does have a sizable fanbase). But this could certainly be the season for that to happen as he starts with New Orleans. We sat down to chat in the bleachers amid the circus of Pelicans media day.
Is “Jimmer” a nickname? It is. My real name’s James. But ever since I was a baby my mom called me Jimmer, and she always made sure everyone else called me Jimmer. James and Jim are kind of family names. Her brother’s named Jimmy and my brother’s middle name is James. So she wanted to have that as my name, but wanted to put a unique spin on it. … Jimmer stuck ever since, and that’s what everyone knows me as.
Jimmer Fredette is just such a peppy, athletic name. Yeah, [my mom] did a great job. It just sounds right. It goes well with what I do. You say “Jimmer” and everyone knows who you’re talking about.
Seems like you have a pretty big fan following. It’s great. I appreciate all the fans that are out there. I was able to get it while I was at BYU; my senior year especially things kind of blew up. I had a great year and my team was doing really well. We were on the national stage a lot. … I have a lot of great fans, and I love seeing the support around the country.
What’s the funniest or strangest thing you’ve seen fans come up with about you? A lot of people say “Jimmer’d,” like “you got Jimmer’d” whenever something happens. Usually it’s a good term. I’ve heard “Fredette about it,” which is pretty funny … I’ve seen signs that say people have named their kids after me.
Do you feel a lot of pressure because of your position and having the following you do? No, not really. It is what it is. The fans are awesome, but you just have to focus on yourself and focus on your team. You can’t really worry about any outside pressure. You put pressure on yourself … the expectations of myself, my teammates and my coaching staff are what matters internally. … If your team’s being successful, I really think the individual success comes with that. So it’s all about being able to have a great team, and I think we can do that this year.
What do you think of New Orleans? Do you like being here? I do. I’ve been here for the last 3-4 weeks just kind of working out, getting ready for the season with the guys. The guys themselves are awesome. They’re hard workers, great to be around, seems like everyone’s cool with each other. It’s great to see. It’s a great atmosphere. As far as the city itself, I’ve been able to go around a little bit. My wife gets down next week, so I’ll be able to experience it more when she gets here. Go out to restaurants, go downtown and walk around the French Quarter, all the different things that are here to offer. … So far all the people around the city have been great.
I read you and your brother used to play basketball with inmates? That’s true. Basically what happened was our next door neighbor, his uncle was the guy who did the rec part of the prison in two local prisons. He thought it would be a good idea if I got together with my brother and some of his friends and my friends to play some of the inmates that were on good behavior. So we did, and my mom was real skeptical at first: “Jimmer, you’re not going in there, you’re too young,” because my brother is seven years older than I. But my brother was like, “He’s going in there, he’s playing. It’ll be good for him.” So we did and it was a lot of fun. It’s a different experience, for sure. They would line up and watch the games, and obviously there’d be guards with guns and everything.
Were the inmates good? Some of them were pretty good. They were big, physical strong guys, and if you got fouled you don’t say anything – you just keep moving forward.
What’s something someone wouldn’t know about you? One interesting thing is I know how to juggle, and I’m not too bad at it.
Occupation: Point guard/shooting guard, New Orleans Pelicans Age: 25 Born/raised: Glens Falls, New York Resides: Kenner Favorite movie: The Shawshank Redemption Favorite TV show: “Modern Family” Favorite band/musician: Maroon 5, Andrew Grammer, Drake – “I have an array of different things I like.” Favorite vacation spot: New Smyrna Beach, Florida and Kauai, Hawaii Favorite food: Italian food. “Upstate New York has a lot of Italian food … some of my best friends own a pizza shop called Angelina’s.”
My wife likes to make me watch different shows, so I definitely watch “The Bachelor” and “Bachelorette.” And I kinda got into it, I can’t lie.