I would highly recommend watching the video, as it was really well done, and showed a side of Jimmer that was quite different than how the media previously portrayed him.
I’ll admit, I never got caught up in Jimmer-mania while he was at BYU, but over the years I’ve read a ton of negative things about him:
- He was a diva
- He wouldn’t accept a role player position in the NBA
- He couldn’t guard 1’s because they were too quick, he couldn’t guard 2’s because he was too small
- He wouldn’t improve his game (was too one-dimensional)
- His shooting release was too slow
And ultimately he was out of the league only 5 years after being drafted.
However, after watching the video, my impression of Jimmer is that he is a well-spoken yet humble guy. He seems to be generally liked by all those around him, including his teammates and coaches. He’s adored by fans, probably because he seems like a normal guy that they can relate to. I laughed when I saw him riding the subway, and he claimed that he enjoyed riding it.
I feel like he can actually be more popular in China than Marbury.
Marbury, already a legend in Beijing, came along at a time when basketball wasn’t as popular as it is now, and not too many ex-NBA players came to China. He essentially had a first mover advantage. Granted, he did win 3 championships for the Beijing Ducks, but after watching a ton of Ducks CBA games when I first came back to Beijing, it was obvious that their team received a ton of favorable calls from the referees.
And while I won’t take away from anything that Marbury accomplished (because his story is also an amazing comeback story), Jimmer has a certain charisma that seems to resonate well with Chinese fans.
As I mentioned already, Jimmer seems like a down to earth guy who’s really humble, and who also seems to welcome Chinese culture, not shy away from it. He shoots threes, and his game is aesthetically pleasing, as opposed to banging down low and plowing through players, which lots of Chinese fans don’t really like to watch.
Also, he is only 28, which means he’s in or about to enter his prime. Most ex-NBA players only come during the back 9 of their careers, but Jimmer is different. He’s here during the peak of his athletic ability, and he can dominate for many years if he stays in China.
He also made “only” US $1.1 million from his salary with the Shanghai Sharks last season, and his endorsement deal with a Chinese sneaker company was “only” US $645,000 so far, but that can easily change because of his meteoric rise in popularity. If he stays in China, he won’t have to worry about money since he can sign much more lucrative endorsement deals in the future.
However, the big factor according to the video is that his wife and baby girl are still in the US.
As an upcoming dad, I know that it’s hard to be away from your family. This may be the ultimate deciding factor on whether he stays in China or not.
But you can bet that if he stays, he’s for sure going to be a bigger legend than Marbury.