3x3 BasketballNews

Jimmer Fredette’s Latest (And Greatest?) Chapter: 3x3 U.S. Basketball Olympian

by Drew Silverman

Jimmer Fredette speaks during an athlete panel at Team USA's Media Summit on April 17, 2024 in New York. (Photo by Getty Images)

Over the last two decades, Jimmer Fredette has authored a fascinating story about a basketball career that has featured highs and lows, ups and downs, sudden fame and relative obscurity.

Now 35 years old, Fredette knows that his story might be down to its final chapter. He also realizes, however, that this final chapter has a chance to be his greatest one yet.

“The Olympics is why I got into this,” began Fredette, who was recently named to the U.S. men’s 3x3 team for the Olympic Games Paris 2024. “It’s just a dream come true.”

Fredette’s story began in Glens Falls, New York, where he scored over 2,400 points in his high school career before heading to Brigham Young University. At BYU, Fredette scored nearly 2,600 career points — a Mountain West Conference record that still stands — and earned national player of the year honors in 2011.

From there, Fredette played in 241 NBA games over parts of six seasons and then spent time playing overseas, most notably in the Chinese Basketball Association. All these leagues and teams, of course, were 5-on-5 competitions. 

So when Fredette initially began playing 3x3 hoops in 2022 with an eye on making Team USA — and a long-term vision to one day play in the Paris Olympics — it wasn’t a guarantee that Fredette would be able to pick up the nuances of the new game.

“At first, I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Fredette said of 3x3 basketball, which made its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2021 (although the U.S. men didn’t qualify that year). “But I love getting into the gym and improving and coming back better each year. My competitive side came out. I knew I could get so much better — and I still can get so much better.”

A 6-foot-2 playmaker, Fredette has always been a dynamic scorer with a willingness to find open teammates. Indeed, those traits come in handy in 3x3 basketball — a sport that prioritizes shooting, quickness and spacing. That said, Fredette has had to work diligently on his defense, rebounding and physicality, as 3x3 essentially leaves players with nowhere to hide. 

Each player on the court needs to be well-rounded, versatile and technically sound in order to ensure any level of team success.

“It’s very fast-paced and very competitive,” said Fredette, noting that 3x3 is a 10-minute game, or the first team to 21 points. “And it is scored using 2s and 1s, so the 2-pointer is worth so much more than the 1, so for me it’s perfect. I like to shoot 2s. I like to spread the floor and make baskets in bunches. I feel like it fits my game very well.”

(L-R) Canyon Barry, Kareem Maddox, Jimmer Fredette and Dylan Travis pose for a photo after winning the gold-medal game at the Pan American Games Santiago 2023 on Oct. 23, 2023 in Santiago, Chile. (Photo by Getty Images)

In his short time in 3x3, Fredette has enjoyed success with Team USA, including winning a silver medal at the 2023 FIBA World Cup and gold at that year’s Pan American Games.

Beyond the natural fit to his playing style, the sport ignites a bit of nostalgia in him.

“It reminds me of playing when I was younger with all my friends,” Fredette said. “We used to play 3x3 a lot, and we’d do it outside. It’s similar going outside and playing in these tournaments that we’re in. So it has a cool feel to it.”

Of course, there have been so many cool aspects in a career that Fredette continues to enjoy every second of. Next up, maybe the coolest of all: playing basketball on the biggest stage in sports.

“Everyone comes together to watch these Olympics,” Fredette said. “Two billion people or something crazy — it’s truly a worldwide thing. I hope to give 3x3 basketball recognition and show that it’s something that’s viable for basketball players. I’m super excited. I can’t wait to put on that USA jersey and represent the country the right way.”

Some athletes prefer to approach their goals one day at a time. Focus on today. Concentrate on the process. Let the end results take care of themselves. Fredette, admittedly, is not one of those athletes.

“I think about it every day. That’s me,” Fredette said of the Olympics, where he’ll be joined on the U.S. squad by Canyon Barry, Kareem Maddox and Dylan Travis. “I try to visualize good things happening. My mom has always been big on that: Visualize what you’re doing and visualize yourself being successful. So if you see me in a daze, I’m probably dreaming of the Olympics. I’m always thinking about it. Obviously that doesn’t take away from our preparation and the other tournaments we’re playing before Paris. We’re all-in on our preparation. But when I have some down time, I’m always thinking about the Olympics.”

Indeed, this final chapter of Fredette’s career has a chance to be a special one. The U.S. will face plenty of stiff competition in Paris, but maybe, just maybe, the final page of Fredette’s basketball story will be a photo of him, standing on the podium, draped in gold.

“I’ve had a great career at a lot of different levels,” Fredette said. “High school, college, professional — this is my 12th season, going on my 13th — and just to look back and see all the things I’ve been fortunate enough to do, it’s been incredible. And then to have this opportunity this late in my career is just something that’s meant to be. I don’t take it for granted. 

“If we win a gold medal at the Olympics, it would be probably the greatest accomplishment of my sports career. I’m really excited for the opportunity. Obviously there is a lot of work to do before that point, but just to be in the Olympics is the cherry on top of a really fun career.”