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4 years after dropping out of college, the Bay Area photographer enjoys his first experience in the NBA Finals

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San Francisco, CA. (KRON) — On Saturday afternoon, Jordan Jimenez exited the Warriors’ team card, happy to plant his feet back on Bay Area soil after an exciting week capturing the NBA Finals in Boston. . Sometimes Jiménez has to pinch himself. This is real. This is really his life.

Just four years ago, the San Bruno native dropped out of college. Jiménez had tried to follow the traditional path to make his parents happy, pursuing a degree in marketing at the University of San Francisco. But his heart wasn’t in it.

At age 20, with no formal training and without a penny to his name, Jiménez dropped out of academia to pursue photography. He knew that succeeding in this field would be difficult. He also knew that anything less than pursuing his dreams would be worse than failure.

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“What I love most about photography is helping people see a positive light in the world,” Jiménez said. “I knew that was what I wanted to do.”

However, Jiménez did not want to photograph anything. He wanted to shoot basketball.

Instead of college life, where free time for many is spent partying with friends, Jimenez spent nights and weekends in gyms throughout the Bay Area, photographing AAU tournaments, youth basketball and practices, often free of charge. Jimenez worked every day to get better, made connections, and then one day he was in the right place at the right time.

He met Steph Curry at an event in Oakland in 2019. And the rest is history.

“He is an even greater human being. Super humble, super down to earth. As much as he is great on the court, fortunately I have been able to see the off-court side that is even greater,” said Jiménez, still in awe years after he is in a relationship with one of the greatest players of all time. . .

Curry has become one of Jimenez’s regulars. His growing list of clients includes Bleacher Report, Slam Magazine, a host of professional athletes, and his number one client-turned-best friend: Warriors guard Jordan Poole.

The pair met when Poole was a rookie still struggling to find his way as a 20-year-old playing a men’s game. At the time, Jimenez was a 20-year-old budding NBA photographer struggling to make a name for himself in an industry nearly as competitive as the NBA. The parallels made for a fast friendship that only grew stronger when they both reached the top.

“It’s the craziest thing to see someone who has become one of your best friends actually perform at the highest level,” Jimenez said. “That has been a crazy blessing. It’s all the stuff that we really talked about, really manifested where we wanted to be. Seeing it really come to life is truly a crazy experience. I’m super happy for him.”

Poole is finishing the best season of his career, averaging more than 18 points per game as a key part of this Warriors team that is now one win away from an NBA championship.

Jimenez also exploded onto the national scene during the 2021-22 season, sacking Steph Curry moments after one of her trademark no-look 3-pointers. The photo went viral and garnered millions of likes while being featured in nearly every major sports outlet in the US and even the world.

“I never expected it to blow up like it did. Because to be honest it’s not my best picture, what it really was is Steph being Steph. Like I said, that guy is a god. For him to do stuff like that that he does, it’s just he’s him, that’s why it went viral.”

Jiménez deflects any praise when asked about his now-trademark, but make no mistake, anyone who sees his work will tell you he has a gift.

The 24-year-old has been following the Warriors through the 2022 postseason, documenting moments big and small, on and off the court. The trip to Boston for Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals thanks to Poole is just the latest for the rising star.

“It’s kind of a surreal experience for me, especially being around all these super-talented people. just being in a building [TD Garden] with such a rich history, to be able to experience that and to have all the years that I’ve done, all the 7, 8 years that I’ve been doing for photography to really come to fruition and to see all my friends compete at the highest level, without It is certainly a blessing and it is really a lesson in humility,” said Jiménez.

Photographing an NBA championship seems like it would be a peak for most photographers. For Jiménez, it’s just the beginning.

“Once I get to a different level, I’ll be able to put in black and brown creatives that don’t make it to the same rooms as me. My main goal is to make a difference in people’s lives,” Jiménez says of his overall aspirations. “You really believe in yourself. Because we are all gifted in some way and we all have some kind of talent to share with the world.”

Bigger than basketball and bigger than photography, Jimenez says his best “pinch me” moment will come when he can use his talents to open doors for others. And that kind of character is something that college can’t teach.

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