Just for the sake of transparency, this idea has been thrown out before but hasn't been updated since Jimmer was drafted and Tebow became the intensely scrutinized version of himself that he is today.
I'm a Raiders fan, so watching Tim Tebow beat the Steelers in OT was especially disarming. It was also exciting, enthralling, exhilarating and slightly vomit-inducing. The point is, Tim Tebow is hyper-polarizing and everyone seems to have a very stubborn feeling about him. How can one dude (who's not the best at his position) seriously command 9,420 tweets per second?!?!?
Since we (the media) have beaten the Tim Tebow thing further into the ground than I can ever remember happening before, I'm going to assume you know everything about this dude.
Since I'm also a Sacramento Kings fan and I love Jimmer Fredette like many crazies love Tim Tebow, I can at least relate a little bit. There seems to be a shock value when athletes like these two perform so well—perhaps we don't expect them to given their backgrounds and statures. (I'm not outright saying that white athletes performing well is always shocking, but there is some weird shock value that we experience as sports fans).
I truly believe Jimmer is the next Tebow. I don't think it's actually going to happen in the same insane and unpredictable way that it did to the Broncos' QB, but I think Jimmer has more potential for it than anybody. Here's seven reasons why.
To prove both how polarizing Tebow is and how strange people think both of these guys are, I polled a few friends about the Jimmer/Tebow connection (or disconnection, in some cases). Here's a few highlights:
"They're both white and religious. One of them is in-your-face about it and the other isn't. Both media darlings. Both terrible at golf. Both prefer O'Doul's." - Dallas Cowboys fan
"Tebow should give that $250K to support abuse victims, since that's what's going to happen to him next weekend via Brady and the Pats. Jimmer is a beast. That is all."
“Jimmer has potential, I like him as a solid long-term role-player…but who’s Tebow?” (That was a joke in case it's not obvious). - Kings fan
“No comparison because the Kings can’t win. Zing!” - Warriors fan
“Strong jawlines.” - Woman
“Both suck.” - Raiders fan
"Both white. Soccer style kickers!" - Ace Ventura fan
“Both extremely lacking in essential aspects of the game. Tebow throws like a girl and Jimmer can't guard anyone that’s not Mormon. They're both the Chuck Norris of their leagues in terms of pop cultural reference and inexplicable viral irresistibility. Religious fanatic magnets.” - Pure sports fan
"I don't think I know enough about sports or either of them to say except they are both odd religious athletes and people seem to get behind them although they are contrary to the contrarian nature of our current anti-religious society." - Geek
“Although I think Tebow is overrated, they both needed a chance to play. Tebow got his and it worked out for the Broncos. Will Jimmer get his?”
“Similar fan fave following, unconventional, they do things coaches hate, but fans enjoy, similar fan bases in Sacramento and Denver, young teams on the rise, both known for offense in college, first-round picks, chicks dig them, probably Republican, NCAA Player of the Year/Heisman.”
“I don’t think they’re that similar except that they’re white, hard workers."
“Tebow has a lot more to lose than Jimmer at the moment and a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders. Jimmer still has some learning to do about how the league works.”
“Obviously have yet to see Jimmer's national personality. Tebow has the college hardware and was instantly polarizing when he entered the league where Jimmer is not dominating NBA circles.”
“Hyper-religious. Sexual repression is the only other thing that comes to mind.”
Tebow is listed at 6'3", 236 lbs. He actually looks like he might be a fullback in the NFL and my prediction is that at some point, a better QB will come around to the Denver franchise and he'll be relegated to that position. People will still either love or hate him though.
Jimmer is (incorrectly) listed at 6'2", 195 lbs. That haircut that Fredette sports makes him look like he's 12-years-old. Although that's kinda what my haircut looks like, so never mind. Either way, both guys don't have the look of a winning athlete; they get by on determination and (probably) their religious book of choice.
At some point earlier in the 2011-2012 NFL season, Joseph Merkel pitched us the idea of "Teebs and Beebs"—a reality show in which Justin Bieber and Tim Tebow teamed up to do...whatever they do.
Either way, I'm 100 percent certain that a reality TV show called "Jimmer and Timmer," where they go about their business, celibate and happier than ever, would skyrocket. I'm not much of a Tebow fan, but I'd totally watch.
The one thing that everyone loves about reality TV is that it's so unbelievable (which of course is the true irony of it all). In most cases, it's easy to get swept up in how outrageous people on reality TV are. In the case of Jimmer and TImmer, they're not exactly outrageous, but more unconventional.
Stop denying that you'd watch.
Jimmer actually chose to become a Mormon at the age of 18. Which is weird, but only because his mom is Catholic.
Anyone who is a sports fan and doesn't admit the obvious parallels to religion is delusional. There's definitely something to be said for wanting to know "what happens when you die" (FF to 2:38). Either way, it's also completely understandable that people just want to feel like they're a part of something. Have you ever felt like you're the only fan of a certain team? It doesn't feel very good and it kinda makes you want to convert to another religion (team).
Tebow and Jimmer both have a serious devotion to religion that (as both of them claim), guides them through their competitive conflicts. Tebow grew up in a family of missionaries that truly believed by passing their message on, they were doing the world a service. It is abundantly clear that Tim agrees with this sentiment as his "in-your-face" attitude regarding his religion is quite evident via the media.
Tebow even sings about it (watch the first 30 seconds).
Jimmer doesn't really have that same leadership quality that Tebow does (at least yet, anyways). What is encouraging, however, is how determined he is about his religion—which typically translates to the rest of your life. I believe Jimmer is very determined to be at least a game-changing role player, if not a starter and serious contributor on one or more teams.
It's incredibly obvious when an athlete has the "it" factor. It's something intangible that nobody can describe, and it comes right off the page or the screen or however you're consuming the athlete.
The main reason the "it" factor matters is that it changes the way teams (and typically, defenses) play these two young men. In Tebow's case, defenses are trying so hard to stop his ability to run guys over as a scrambling QB that they often leave receivers open. Even Tebow's horrible throwing motion and gross inaccuracy can't screw up a wide open man.
On top of the structural changes that defenses make, they also psyche themselves out because he's...Tebow. They over-prepare, over-analyze and ultimately get in their own heads about his talent and the fact that he might have the Big Man Upstairs pulling a little harder for him.
Jimmer doesn't have this yet, and truth be told, he probably won't ever command the kind of attention that Tebow is currently getting. What he does have though is an ability to hit some seriously deep threes, and within a few years I think he'll be driving and dishing as well as the Warriors' young star Monta Ellis. It worked in college when he led the nation in scoring and I think it could work on the Kings. Right now they are in such a state of disarray that Jimmer isn't getting the ball kicked to him for open shots. It's pretty obvious that he can't create his own shots because he's not fast enough.
Like Tebow's ability to run the ball, Jimmer has a talent in bombing threes and making them consistently. If the Kings can exploit that, you might see a ray of light pouring down on him during the playoffs in a few years.
Another thing that stands out about these two athletes is how great they were in college. Jimmer's virtually unknown BYU squad made it to the Sweet 16 and lost to Tebow's alma mater Florida.
That's where the argument begins to fall apart slightly, since Tebow played in a powerhouse conference for a powerhouse coach during a powerhouse era of recruiting. Tebow obviously had to accomplish a lot in order to win a Heisman and lead his team to two national titles. On the other hand, he was given quite a bit more than Jimmer was.
Jimmer even had to deal with a teammate who didn't live like a monk. What a shame.
Seriously though they would have beat Florida no question about it if Davies had been allowed to play. Lesson learned; NEVER BREAK THE BYU HONOR CODE.
If it's a little surprising to you that I have two shirtless Tebow photos in this slideshow, welcome to the club.
The way sports has evolved has conditioned everyone to be surprised when white athletes perform exceedingly well. Basketball especially is a sport dominated by African Americans and it's no shocker that watching J.J. Redick hit a three is a much different (and more boring) experience than seeing Javale McGee throw down on some unsuspecting defender.
Maybe race doesn't need to be brought into this argument, but it's almost impossible not to notice it. Quarterbacks are typically white, but they're not usually bowling balls that run linebackers over. By the same token, Jimmer is one of only a few white American basketball players in the NBA. Who knows, perhaps the "it" factor will propel him to the All-Star game one day.
(Ready to pinch me yet?)
Jimmer will be the next Tebow. If not, you can put a Tebow jersey on me, spin me around a baseball bat 40 times and take me to the Philippines to proselytize me until I believe in Teebs for real.
Lord knows I already believe in Jimmer. Yes; that lord.