Read an Excerpt
At its core, this is a story of two brothers from a blue-collar religious family in upstate New York. Jimmer, you probably know about: on June 23, 2011, he was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Sacramento Kings with the No. 10 overall pick; he had won seven different awards as the 2011 National Player of the Year in college basketball; he led all of NCAA Division I in scoring, averaging 28.9 points per game; he carried BYU to one of its finest seasons in school history; and he became a national sensation in the process.
He was such a big deal in 2011 that he changed the language. He became both a one-name superstar—while the entertainment world had Bieber, the basketball world had Jimmer—and a verb. In hoops nomenclature, opponents strafed by Fredette’s shooting had been “Jimmered.”
But to know Jimmer, you must also know T.J.
T.J. Fredette is seven years older than Jimmer and different in many ways. Jimmer is measured in almost everything he says and does; T.J. is glib, extemporaneous, and witty. Jimmer is slow to anger and difficult to lure into a confrontation; T.J. at times possesses a hair-trigger temper. Jimmer was a solid student when the subject matter interested him; T.J. was rarely interested in any academic pursuits. Jimmer was a shooter; T.J. was a distributor.
Their common ground was Jimmer’s game and what it would take to maximize it. Toward that end, T.J. served as his childhood roommate, mentor, coach, adviser, motivator, and confidant. He’s been more involved on a daily basis in Jimmer’s success than any other person—drilling him, advising him, cajoling him, challenging him, lifting him up when he was down, knocking him down when he got too high.
It was T.J. who took Jimmer to play “prison ball.” It was T.J. who summoned all his creativity to invent drills that kept Jimmer interested in practicing fundamentals. And it was T.J. who wrote the handwritten contract that to this day remains taped to the wall above Jimmer’s bed in the Fredette home:
“I, James T. Fredette, agree on this day, January 27, 2007, to do the work and make the necessary sacrifices to be able to reach my ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.”
Jimmer signed the contract, T.J. signed as the witness, and a moment in Fredette family lore was cemented.