American Culture

Tim Tebow emcees the 2012 "All Next-Larry-Bird" banquet

Well, it’s now apparent that Jimmer Fredette is who we thought he was. A hard-working and gifted shooter with inflated statistics created by playing in an offense created specifically for him against sub-standard competition, and a player who is way too small and slow to get off his shot in the NBA.

With only 8 points, 1 rebound and 2 assists per game, he did not make the All-Star team or the All-Rookie team or any of the various other honors the NBA dishes out, which has to be a shock given that he picked up virtually every honor out there in college. Jimmer couldn’t even crack the starting line-up of the lowly Sacramento Kings.

(I know, I know, Jimmeristas are saying: Wait until next year. Next year he will still be 6’2”.)

But don’t despair Jimmer, because we are putting you on an even more exclusive team. The All-Next-Larry-Bird-NOT! Team. You see, since Larry the Legend retired, a lot of fans, some Celtics and some not, have been absolutely desperate for the next coming of Bird. They want to see a player who will do what Bird did, in 13 seasons put up averages of 24 points per game, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, who will play every single play like his life depended on the outcome, and who will step up in the last minute of close games and jam an icicle dagger into the hopes of opposing teams.

Wait a minute! Doesn’t Boston have that player? In 13 years Paul Pierce has averaged 22 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, not quite Birdian numbers, but then Bird played in a far more stat-friendly era before zone defenses were legal. (Remember, part of the time Bird was being guarded by ‘Nique, who couldn’t guard a piggy bank if you gave him a Glock and a bulletproof vest.) Like Bird, Pierce is a Boston lifer with multiple trips to The Finals. Like Bird, he is a ferocious competitor who can be trusted in the clutch. In the 2002 playoffs, he led his team back from a 21 point deficit by putting up 19 points in the fourth quarter. Like Bird, he asks to play the other team’s best player, and once hung 50 on LeBron. And like Bird, he’s insanely tough. One year he got stabbed breaking up a bar fight and almost died, and did not miss a single game. So there you are, folks, your next Larry Bird is already here, even plays on the same team and even has almost the same jersey number!

[Crickets chirping.] Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I get it. Paul Pierce is black, and part of the whole Next Larry Bird thing is he has to be white. OK, that’s cool. Sorry, what was I thinking?

Then how about Dirk Nowitzki? He’s got almost identical career stats: 23/8/3, has been an MVP and won an NBA championship. He’s a fabulous shooter, like Bird, and the undisputed leader of his team. Or Steve Nash. How about him? Bird was a nifty passer and Nash is a great passer. He’s clutch, too. What? Well, no, they’re not American, but they’re white.

OK. So they have to be white and American. Hmmm. Well, there’s Kevin Love, but his stats don’t quite measure up to Pierce, Nowitzki or Nash. (And anyway, he’s the next Wes Unseld. Go figure.) I guess maybe we will have to wait awhile.

In the meantime, Jimmer, enjoy your time with your fellow team members, all of whom were decreed at one time or another to be the next Larry Bird, and whose careers have ranged from solid (Christian Laettner, Keith Van Horn, Mike Dunleavy) to utterly forgettable (Adam Morrison, Danny Ferry, Andrew Gaze, Eric Montross). For awhile, ANLBN’s came from Duke. Now it seems they come from the Mountain West. First the South and now Mormon country. Not sure what to make of that.

Jimmer, I understand you didn’t ask to be on this team. None of the others did, either. But you did go with it when all those “experts” raved about how you would light up the NBA. You’re not stupid. You knew all along that you are seven inches shorter than Bird and more likely to be the second coming of Steve Alford than the next Hick from French Lick, but I never heard you say that in the interviews. You know that you profited from the fact that it’s politically incorrect for announcers to point out the athletic deficiencies of white basketball players, just as it is politically incorrect for announcers to report the fact that Vince Young is dumb as a yard of compost. (Or as dumb as Kerry Collins. Pick your analogy.)

At any rate, congratulations on your selection and please join us at the banquet in two weeks in Salt Lake City. The dinner topic will be “How to Turn Overrated into Overpaid,” and the keynote speaker will be Tim Tebow. Better make your reservations now, because it’s filling up fast.

3 replies »

  1. Why all the hate on Jimmer ,,no one said he would average 20 poinnts as a rookie. People like him because he brings something very different to the league (besides being white) he had a coach who did not know what he was doing in the first place.Look at (Smart)s record and his career as a wannabe player in the NBA and as a coach. You cant average around 30 point in any div 1 school with only being a shooter . Jimmer has great crossover to get open ,uses his left hand great, and has more range than anybody in the nba.It will take a smart coach who knows how to get screens set up, and teamates who are willing to trust that White guy who is wide open. Then let him play more than 10 min in a game.When he did start a few games he was getting 14 or 15 points a game.
    Yes he needs to get more aggressive on both sides of the court.Jimmer will be a better player then alot of you white BBall haters think.

  2. Well, Jimmer-lovers kinda did say he was going to average 20 points a game as a rookie, because that’s what Larry averaged his first year, 21.3. 10 was considered the bare minimum, and he didn’t even make that. (

    Now, would he have gotten those 10 if he’d been given more minutes and an infinite number of screens? Sure, thus my comparison to Steve Alford, who was similarly sized and skilled.

    But, I am not hating on Jimmer. I hear he’s a good kid, and that’s great. I wish him well. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if one day he’s not a legend in the Israeli or Phillipino Basketball League, just as Starbury is in China. I am hating on know-nothings who puff the Jimmers and Timmers up with unrealistic comparisons, because they identify with their race or their religion.

    Look, I get loving players for non-athletic reasons. I went to Georgia and for thirty years almost convinced myself Nique was better than Jordan or Bird. We’re fans, we do that. In this case though, I think race and religion plays a part in Jimmer love and I think it is fair to call people on it.

    • I thought I had been called everything in the book, but damn, “Bball hater” is new. I grew up in NC, which is hoops heaven, and worship everything worthy about the game. The only thing I really hate about the game is doofuses who find a stat that supports their preconceived dogmas and then proceed to carry on like they’re experts. If that’s what was meant, then guilty as charged.

      Or maybe it’s that we hate WHITE bballers? If so, then I’m REALLY confused. I like white people. Some of my best friends are white people.

      What’s most striking about Anonymous’ comment, though, is the thing that’s probably obvious. To wit, change a name, change a couple words, and this is EXACTLY like listening to a Tebowista. You know, it’s the coach’s fault for not going all-in.

      The good news is that Jimmer ain’t my problem. With some work I think he can maybe be a poor man’s JJ Reddick – better pure shooter, not as good at the other phases of the game. I wish him the best, but he just doesn’t have the potential to be more than a limited role player.