It’s almost Olympics time for Jimmer Fredette.

Before he heads to Paris to compete on Team USA’s 3x3 men’s basketball squad, the BYU legend appeared on The Ringer’s “The Ryen Russillo Podcast” to discuss the coming games and much more.

Here are the highlights from Fredette’s appearance on “The Ryen Russillo Podcast.”

Related
Jimmer reveals his top 5 shooters of all time — not named Jimmer

On how he got started with 3x3 basketball

“After the 2021 season and I was in China playing 5x5 and it was during COVID, it was a difficult season. I was over there for seven months and didn’t get to see my family and kids. So I came back and was like, ‘I can’t do that again. I don’t wanna go back over to China and play. I just wanna be with my kids.’

“And so I took some time off. I took six months off of basketball and I wasn’t playing. I ended up going to play in the TBT tournament in the summer, and at that point I played pretty well. So the 3x3 guys, Jay Demings and Fran Fraschilla, who are part of the committee, called me up and were like, ‘Hey, are you gonna play 5x5 next year? Or if you’re not, would you be interested in playing 3x3 basketball? We want you to come and try to help us qualify for the Olympics in 2024.’ As soon as I heard ‘Olympics,’ I was intrigued, right?

“I was like, ‘Man, what an opportunity that could be. You know, I’m not playing (professionally), but I still feel like I’m in good shape and I could provide for a team and play good basketball still.’ So I jumped in, and in October of 2022 I played my first 3x3 tournament and I’ve been playing ever since.”

On the international landscape of 3x3 basketball

“We like to say we’re the best 3x3 team that the USA has put together at this point. We’ve been a part of some really big wins.

“We go throughout the whole FIBA World Tour, we’re playing in that currently. We also have Masters tournaments, which are the biggest tournaments in the world and all the best teams are there. You’ll see the Serbian teams, the Latvian teams, the Lithuanian teams, the Netherlands, all these teams that are going to be in the Olympics. You see them at these tournaments. So you face these guys on a weekly basis. It’s not like we don’t know who our competition is. We know exactly who our competition is. We see them all the time. It’s basically like a traveling circus, you can just go from one city to the next playing these teams.

“So for us, we’ve been fortunate to be able to win a lot of these Masters tournaments, which has been huge for us, for our confidence and understanding that we’re one of the best teams in the world. But anything can happen in 3x3. That’s the crazy part about it. It’s such a quick game, anybody can beat anybody on any day. So you just have to be prepared.”

Related
Jimmer Fredette’s hot streak just got hotter

On how Team USA can succeed in the Olympics

“I would just say making sure that we are sticking within our game plan and understanding the way that we play. You can get into a matchups battle sometimes in 3x3 where you’re worrying about your opponent too much, what they do and the things that they do really well. For us, that’s not the formula for winning. For us, it’s to make sure that we are playing the way that we play and make them adjust.

“I think you have to really think that way when you’re playing this game, because if we play the way that we play and make them adjust, now we’re in our comfort zone and playing our best basketball. So we have to make sure we continue to think about that and focus in on how we get better and how we can win these basketball games instead of worrying about the opponents.”

On Team USA’s main 3x3 competition in this year’s Olympics

“Serbia is No. 1. They’re always the team that we’re trying to catch and everyone’s trying to catch. They won the World Cup last year — they beat us in the final in the World Cup last year. They won the Euro Cup this year. They’re the standard in 3x3 basketball. So yeah, they’re obviously a team that we’re trying to beat.

“Latvia was the team that won the Olympics last time, and they’re bringing back the majority of their guys. They’re really good. The Netherlands are actually really good. The Netherlands has some guys that have come in and play and they’re super physical. They just know how to play.

Jimmer Fredette speaks during an interview after practice for the USA Basketball 3x3 national team, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, in Miami Lakes, Fla. | Lynne Sladky, Associated Press

“So I’d say us four are probably the top four. But everybody out of Lithuania is also really good. They have a big guy that can really play. And France will have the home court advantage, so you know they’re going to come out fired up and ready to go.”

On the NBA players he thinks would be perfect for 3x3

“I think a guy like Jayson Tatum would be really good at this because he can shoot the ball, he can create his own shot, but he also cares about defense. He plays hard, he’s got good length and he can do a little bit of everything. So a guy like that would be really good.

“Jrue Holiday would be amazing as well. I mean, the Boston back court, basically, because they’re just so malleable, right? They can just do everything. They switch on defense — they can play post defense. They can come off a ball screen and shoot it and score.

“I think a guy like Kevin Durant would be absolutely perfect for the sport — his length and him being able to shoot the basketball the way that he can.”

Reflecting on his personal basketball journey

“It’s been a crazy ride, right? Ever since college, it’s been kind of a roller coaster. It’s been super up and down, especially in the NBA. But for me, I wouldn’t change it. It’s been great to be able to create the person that I am today, not necessarily just the basketball player that I am, but the person that I am as well. Going through difficult times and good times can kind of shape who you are.

Jimmer Fredette of Sacramento reacts as no foul is called on his last shot at the end of the game as the Sacramento Kings face the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012. | Ravell Call, Deseret News
13
Comments

“I feel like I’ve tried to continue to pursue my passion and my dream the best way that I possibly could, and I feel like myself as a basketball player is kind of solidified. People know who I am. They kind of know what I’ve done.

“Most people obviously know me from college or my China days. I do have some Sacramento fans out there that still are super loyal and appreciate myself and my family and everything as well, because that’s where I was drafted to.

“But I feel like for me, I’ve left an imprint on the game of basketball, and I feel like that’s all I could ask for. So I’m 100% at peace with what I’ve been fortunate to be able to do.

“And (basketball) has been able to take me all over the world to see amazing places and experience some really cool cultures and meet a lot of different people and do some great things. So I’m definitely at peace with how things have gone. Obviously, I got one more thing here that I want to do in the next couple of weeks, which is pretty crazy. It’s one of the coolest things that I’ll ever do as a basketball player and as an athlete in general. But I feel like my legacy has been solidified at this point and whatever happens now, it’s just icing on the cake.”

Former BYU basketball great Jimmer Fredette, left, greets fans during a BYU basketball game against Denver, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, in Provo, Utah. | George Frey
Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.