Jimmer Fredette may not have found his place in the NBA, but the BYU legend has now found a basketball home in China. In his first season abroad, he tore up the CBA, averaging more than 37 points per game and being named the league’s International MVP.
That level of phenomenal scoring success shouldn’t be surprising to Cougar fans who lived through the glory of Jimmermania, but it’s a new experience for Chinese basketball fans who have elevated Fredette to the status of local hero in the country’s largest city, Shanghai. (For comparison, Shanghai’s population is more than 2.5 times that of New York City.)
So with Jimmer becoming a superstar in the largest emerging market on the planet, it’s no surprise that he’ll got plenty of new marketing opportunities coming his way — and the first one has now dropped.
Chinese sportswear brand 361°, which Fredette has endorsed since last season, released his first signature basketball shoe on Tuesday. ESPN shoe guru Nick DePaula (also known as “Sneaker Woj”) first broke the news on Twitter:
Over in China, Jimmer Fredette just unveiled his own signature shoe with Chinese brand 361, and they're kinda fire. Thoughts? pic.twitter.com/0vtOvoNMII— Nick DePaula (@NickDePaula) September 19, 2017
Once the cat was out of the bag, sneakerheads around the world quickly took notice. Glowing reviews quickly came rolling in, especially highlighting the shoes’ fresh design and fun colorways. Yahoo called them “outstanding,” and For The Win said they’d “make Lonzo Ball jealous.”
Here’s DePaula writing for NiceKicks (where you can also see a ton more pictures of the shoes):
I get a lot of pitch emails featuring new sneakers. Some have been hilariously iconic, others fall through the cracks and don’t warrant much attention, and then there are the times that I’m caught completely off guard by the fire that has just hit my inbox.
Like sharpshooter Jimmer Fredette’s new signature sneaker with Chinese brand 361 yesterday.
CBS Sports’ Jack Maloney thinks the new kicks “look pretty nice,” even if he’s not a huge fan of 361°’s brand name (and he’s not wrong about that):
First of all, 361 is the funniest brand name of all time. Like, hey, we'll go around the world for you ... and just one little tiny bit extra, but that's it. Just one degree further, no more. It's no Entertainment 720, that's for sure.
But anyway, these shoes look pretty nice. I'm not sure what those Chinese symbols mean, but they're a cool touch, the mesh design looks a little Adidas Boost-ish, but that's not exactly a bad thing, and the various colorways are fresh.
And here’s WearTesters on some of the shoe’s technical specifications, if you’re interested in that sort of thing:
The knit upper features a digital-like pattern with branding on the lateral side, heel counter, and sockliner. The shoe takes a similar approach the Crazy Explosive 2017 does withe minimalist look and ankle collar. There is no word yet on whether the shoe features 361 Degrees’ responsive Qu!ckfoam.
361° has traditionally produced running shoes and only recently transitioned into the basketball shoe market, so they don’t have an established name in the game just yet. But if these new shoes perform as well on the court as their first shoe did, Jimmer might just have a bonafide global hit on his hands.