In case you were wondering, Jimmermania won’t be going away anytime soon – at least in Utah, and at least according to his coach.
Last week I asked Kings coach Keith Smart how long he thought the Jimmer Fredette hype might last in Utah, to which he replied: “When you are great guy and you’ve played well, and you’ve done things well — the area you come back into, you’re going to be loved forever.
“As long as he plays basketball, he’ll have that effect here. No matter what he tries to do – restaurants, car dealerships — he’s going to have that connection here because he’s done great things. I’m not promoting him right now, but I just think that happens when you do something good. I have that feeling a little bit after 25 years of going back to Indiana, you still have that.”
Smart’s prediction seems likely if last Friday’s Kings-Jazz game at ESA was any indication. The cheering and booing were split nearly 50-50 when Fredette was involved. Shawn Bradley, Andre Miller and Andrew Bogut had similar experiences after moving on to the NBA, but eventually those died down. There’s always some local support, but mostly they just become another opposing player.
Whether it’s personality, prominence or his catchy name, it seems to me Fredette’s popularity in Utah is likely to go on for quite few years – as long as his career does, too.