Jimmer and Whitney Fredette open up about life as Mormon couple in NBA

By Rebbie Groesbeck and Danny Rasmussen

For Normons

Published: Friday, Jan. 10 2014 6:07 p.m. MST

That said, there are definitely guys who live different standards than I choose to live. Some guys are partying and drinking, which I don’t want to be a part of. The good thing I have going for me now is that I told them early that I wasn’t going to go out and do any of that stuff. We have a lot of fun together, we laugh and joke in the locker room but when it’s time for them to go out, I just head back to my room and they respect that, which is great. At first, people might think you’re weird, questioning why you don’t go out—and I have nothing against their decision to go out at all—but my teammates have come to respect my lifestyle. When they’re going out, they already know that my answer to the invitation will be no.

Danny: Whitney, we’ve all seen Basketball Wives (some of us more than we’d like to admit). How do you handle being both a cheerleader to your man and glam powerhouse?

Whitney: I’ve had a few friends tell me I should go on the show but I remind everyone that I’m far too boring for that show! Life in the NBA is definitely a different life. I always tell Jimmer that I’m lucky that I don’t really care what other people think about me—if they think I’m weird or if there’s something about me that they don’t like, it doesn’t really matter to me. I live the standards I live and dress the way I dress. I dress the way that I want to and people respect me for it. It’s a similar thing for me among the girls as it is for Jimmer in the locker room.

As far as cheerleading for my man goes, it’s really hard on me because I get very defensive of him. I don’t like when people say negative things about him and of course in our wonderful world of social media it’s everywhere. So I see a lot of it. I try to avoid it but it’s hard. At this point to be honest, I try not to read anything. If I see his name somewhere I don’t go anywhere near it. I think a lot of times the worst thing to do is to get upset and respond to something because of course the next day it’s all over the news: “Jimmer’s wife went on a twitter rampage.” Haha so I really try ignore it and act like it didn’t happen.

Rebbie: So obviously there’s a ton of pressure in the NBA to play great basketball. Do you feel any added pressure being a Mormon in the NBA? Does it make it easier? Does it stress you out?

Jimmer: You’re definitely under a microscope when you’re playing professional sports or doing anything high profile and you realize that. You realize people are watching your moves and watching to see if you’ll make a mistake. But the thing is, I’m not doing all this to put on a show. I’m doing it because I truly believe in the church and believe in the gospel and this is how I want to live my life. So it doesn’t really bother me that people see what I’m doing because I know that in my heart that’s what I want to be doing. So that’s the most important thing to me.

It’s not that I’m perfect or anything, obviously I make tons of mistakes. But I try as best I can to be the best I can be and be a good role model. I do it because I want to do it and not because I’m supposed to.

Danny: Jimmer you’ve been criticized by some for not serving a full-time mission. How did you go about making that decision and do you have any regrets about your choice?

Jimmer: When I was growing up, to be honest with you, I didn’t think about serving a mission very often. My dad didn’t serve a mission and neither did my brother. Not as many people back east go on missions. I was the only member of the Church in my high school so I just didn’t see many people go on missions. It wasn’t really something I thought about. In Utah and other places you grow up thinking, “Hey, I want to go on a mission” but it never really occurred to me. But then as I got older—around 16 or 17 years old—my dad asked me if I would consider going on mission. It was the first time that someone had ever asked me the question and it kind of caught me off guard. I thought about it but I didn’t really know what to think about it. I prayed about it and I never got a strong feeling after praying about it several times that I was supposed to go on a mission. Since there was never a strong feeling, I decided that I wasn’t going to do one.

I know that some people probably don’t like that and it’s something that I’ve been criticized before about and, in fairness, I can understand where people are coming from. It was a tough decision for me but thankfully I can see now how I’ve been able to serve the Lord in other ways. I can see how I’ve been able to reach a lot of people that I otherwise may not have been able to as a full-time missionary.

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