Jimmer Receives His Mission Call

I’m sure the letter read something like this:

Dear James “Jimmer” Fredette, you are hereby called to serve a mission to the Hoops Universe Mission including opening of the Twittersphere.  It is anticipated that you will serve for a long time.

Not sure who signed it but make no mistake, he is now officially on a mission.

If you haven’t heard the name “Jimmer” yet, you either hate college hoops or are not a Mormon.  Jimmer has taken the basketball world by storm and as an ESPN radio guy said yesterday, he has become the “face of college hoops this season.”

I have been amazed at the fame explosion of this polite, “down-home” kind of young man.  And his skills as a basketball player? ” Well, they are off the charts and he is an absolute joy to watch.

But what about a mission?  Anyone who follows Jimmer and understand the expectations on a young man to serve a two year “Mormon Mission” may have asked the question, “Did he go on a mission?” or “Is he going on a mission?”

He hasn’t served a mission, as we have come to understand them – two years of serving and proselyting putting everything else on hold, including basketball.  I’m sure there are those out there who will judge Jimmer but  I prefer to take the “Gatorade is half full” approach.

Jimmer has said that he prayed about going on a mission and felt that he could do more good for the Church going the route of Steve Young, Danny Ainge and other high profile Mormon athletes who have leveraged their celebrity to spread the “Good News”. Some will consider this an excuse but don’t underestimate the affect this kind of exposure has for the Church.

Though his “mission” started a long time ago, (I read that he fielded a lot of questions about the Church while working out with Team USA last summer) for me, his first real “discussion” was taught yesterday in an interview with John Buccigross on SportsCenter. (See video below)  One of the first questions for Jimmer, who was on the phone, was what made him decide to be a Mormon. His answer was genuine, humble and perfect.  He sounded like a “greenie” finally getting to bare testimony to a real “non-member.”  My 16 year old actually cheered as his hero expressed a testimony of belief and faith to the entire sports world.

It will be fun to watch Jimmer through March Madness and beyond. What will be more fun is watching the world continue to become “Jimmerpated” and at the same time, learn more about the Church and it’s faith.




6 Responses to Jimmer Receives His Mission Call

  1. Evan says:

    Interesting take – a few questions for you…

    How many of these clips would we see if he announced he would not be playing in the NBA next year and would instead be serving a full-time mission.

    In the case that he was a return missionary, would these questions still be asked in an interview? Would he possibly be asked about his mission experience and the affect it has on his game?

    And lastly, not sure if your 16 year old is a male, but what if your son/grandson/ nephew told you he had prayed about serving a mission and and was told he would be better off doing something else.

    Just some thoughts I had – curious to hear if you have an opinion.

    • Troy says:

      Hey Evan,

      Thanks for the reply and questions. Some are of course, rhetorical but as I alluded to, regardless of decisions made by Jimmer leading up to where he is now, he is in a position to be of great influence for good. And I must admit his is a very rare story. If you haven’t seen the video on Tyler Haws yet, take a look. It shows the other side of the coin and is a wonderful story. (Tyler Haws)

      When it come down to it, I have to trust Jimmer when he says he received an answer to prayer. A good question would be, “Would God tell a young man not to go?” If yes, perhaps this is one of those times. But it is not my call.

      As for my sixteen year old, I hope and pray everyday that he chooses and is worthy to serve a mission. We talk about all the time and that is the expectation. He is one of two or three members in his class and only member on the basketball team. For Jimmer to share his beliefs on a program that all my son’s friends are watching means a lot.

      Further, what about kids that don’t go. That are either unworthy, don’t want to or for other reason don’t serve. Are they loved less by God? Can they be good members and can they serve in other, even high profile, callings some day. ABSOLUTELY. We have to be carefull that in our zeal to encourage youth to serve missions we don’t do irreparable damage to those who don’t serve.

      My two cents.

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  4. Mark Hinckey says:

    Right. How good an example can someone be who dismisses something as important as a mission for something as fleeting and ultimately hollow as a spot in a professional sport? Regardless of what Jimmer seem may seem at the moment to the sports world, like others that have gone that route, beneath the glitz and glitter he’ll be viewed as a poor example by youth of the church, and rightly so.

    • Troy says:

      Wow Mark, I posted that a while back. Thanks for your comment.

      I understand your point. He didn’t go on a mission as commanded so we shouldn’t “dismiss” the fact that he disobeyed. And certainly we shouldn’t celebrate it. Respectfully, here are a few thoughts: (I may have written some of these in my post but it has been a while.)

      • I don’t think anyone can argue that Jimmer’s influence is real. He has already represented the Church well. As my post points out, he has fielded questions about the church and is known as a Mormon boy. Whether he continues to be a good ambassador for the church remains to be seen but “Jimmer” is a house hold name, and Jimmer is an active Mormon. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Just because he didn’t serve a mission in the way that most YM do, doesn’t mean that we should deny and tear down the good he is now doing.

      • I get concerned that we put so much emphasis on serving a mission (appropriately so) that when a young man, for one reason or another, chooses not to go or is not able to go, becomes disenfranchised. He often becomes an out-cast and doesn’t fit anywhere. Can he still become a strong, contributing member of the church? Absolutely. Can he enter the temples? Absolutely. Can he serve someday in leadership positions? Absolutely. We need to continue to focus on getting our YM (and some YW) to the mission field but can’t “dismiss” those who don’t go and accept that they too have something to offer in the Kingdom.

      • I am open-minded enough to believe that if God wants to use Jimmer to further the Kingdom, even though Jimmer didn’t go on a mission, God can do it. We are sometimes so “black-and-white” about how things should go that we unknowingly put limits on what we think God will do. For example, I have no problem considering (doesn’t mean its accurate) that in the Premortal World, God said to the Pope, “Listen, I have an important mission for you. You are not going to have the true gospel, at least not all of it, but I need to you lead a people that will nevertheless do good in a world that will be struggling. You will assist in preparing more souls to accept my kingdom when it comes. Will you do it?” And of course, he would. Some may look at me like I’m crazy, but yes, I believe God can use the Pope to further His kingdom.

      So, if God (and I mean Christ too) can work outside of what we consider the mainstream of “The Work” then why can’t He use Jimmer to do His will?

      Jimmer may not have served a mission but he is doing good and is a good example of representing the Church and its standards while excelling in the “world”; In other words, “being in the world but not of the world.” As parents, that is what we can focus on – the good that he has done and is yet to do.

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