words // Brennan Hiro Williams
images // Moe Tang
It is a new day in the shoe sponsorship game.
Over the past four years, James Taft Fredette, better known to the world as Jimmer, enjoyed one of the finest careers in NCAA basketball history, averaging 28.9 points per game as a senior for the BYU Cougars, and earning 2011 national player of the year honors. With a game honed on the courts of the Mount McGregor Medium Security Prison, the Glen Falls, New York native went on to become the 10th pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, joining the Sacramento Kings.
While he waits to unleash Jimmer Time on the Association, Fredette made his Sacramento-area debut on Sunday night in the Goon Squad Classic charity basketball game. With sneakerheads anxious to see an assortment of Jordan, Nike, Reebok and adidas shoes on the court, Jimmer unveiled a wildcard - Spalding. Jimmer showed off his new kicks during the game with a trademark onslaught of three pointers. If that wasn't enough, he also defeated fellow rookie Isaiah Thomas in a half time dance off. Heat check.
Spalding, established in 1876, is well known as the maker of game balls for many sports, and is the official ball supplier of the NBA. Over its long history, the company successfully produced everything from bicycles to M1918 Browning Automatic Rifles, but a Spalding basketball shoe has been largely absent from American courts since the days of Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon.
With the name Jimmer reaching iconic, almost mythical levels, will the young King continue his success in the NBA, and in doing so, carry Spalding basketball shoes into footwear relevance?
Stay tuned to Sole Collector for more on Jimmer and the Goon Squad Classic.