Jimmer and Whitney Fredette open up about life as Mormon couple in NBA
Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Editor's note: This post by Rebbie Groesbeck and Danny Rasmussen originally appeared on the blog, Normons. It has been reprinted here with permission.
In 2011, Jimmer Fredette found himself in the spotlight (no pun intended) during his senior year as he led the BYU basketball team to the Sweet 16. Along the way, he picked up every major award that college basketball has to offer including National Player of the Year, the Wooden Award, the Naismith Award, the Adolph Rupp Trophy, and the Oscar Robertson trophy. Jimmer was taken 10th overall in the 2011 NBA draft and found himself playing for the Sacramento Kings. He met his wife Whitney (a former BYU cheerleader) while at BYU and the couple was married in 2011 in the LDS Temple near where they now reside in Denver, CO. They were gracious enough to sit down with us to discuss what life is like for a young, Mormon couple in the NBA.
Danny: So let’s get right to it. How often to you use the line “You just got Jimmered?” It’s okay if it’s 10x a day.
Jimmer: Haha honestly I don’t think I’ve ever used it once. It’s funny how people have used that and it’s turned into its own phrase since the time when I was at BYU. It’s awesome when people say it and I hear it all the time, but I don’t feel right saying it.
Danny: I’m actually glad to hear that. Jimmer, you come from a part member family, right? Why did you choose Mormonism?
Jimmer: Yeah, my mom actually isn’t a member of the Church but my dad is–he converted when he was 18. My mom still hasn’t become a member but she loves the lifestyle that we live and has always supported us and attended sacrament meeting with us.
I grew up going to church at a young age, but I wasn’t baptized until I was ten instead of getting baptized at eight like most kids. My dad just didn’t force it upon me to get baptized so at eight years old I didn’t really think about it. As I got to about ten years old, I thought “All my friends at church are baptized—maybe I should, too.” I decided to get baptized and I’ve been a faithful member ever since.
Danny: Interesting. So your Dad is a convert, correct? Do you mind telling us a little about your Dad’s experience joining the church?
Jimmer: When my Dad was younger, his parents were Christian and they went to church. Then one day the missionaries showed up at the door, one of which was my BYU teammate Steven Rodgers’ dad who ended up baptizing both my uncle and my dad. He said it was undeniable. He was searching for something to be a part of, and when the Elders challenged him to read the Book of Mormon and he read through it, he felt that undeniable testimony and decided that was the route he wanted to go.
As I’ve grown older my testimony has grown a lot and a lot of it really has to do with my dad. He actually helped get the Church going in Glens Falls back in the day. They used to meet in a local cornfield, because they didn’t even have a building. He’s been such a faithful member and helped so many people around Glens Falls. Everybody in town knows who my dad is — that he’s a good guy, that he’s willing to help, and that he’s Mormon. He’s been a good example to me. That’s really where my testimony started in just seeing how spiritual and what a good guy he is. I wanted to grow up and be like that.
Danny: Whitney, can you tell us what it was like being married to Jimmer in the LDS Temple? How has the gospel blessed your marriage?
Whitney: Our sealing was incredible. We were sealed in the Denver Temple by (BYU) President Samuelson who we both knew really well. It was really a unique experience. It was the first time either of us had been in a sealing but it was an incredible feeling. It was really special to be sealed by someone who knew both of us so well and to be there with so many loved ones.
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