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“It’s a Surreal Experience..”- Derek Jeter Recalls the Thrill of Knowing New York Celebrities on a First-Name Basis During His Youth

Published 01/18/2023, 1:10 PM EST

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Derek Jeter’s rise to stardom was nothing short of meteoric. At just shy of 21, he burst onto the baseball scene with the New York Yankees, immediately captivating fans with his talent, grit, and humble demeanor.

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Despite his rapid ascent, Jeter remained grounded, finding it hard to believe that he was now on a first-name basis with the very people he grew up watching. But as his saga continued to grow, so too did the realization that he had become an idol in his own right – a true icon of the sport.

Derek Jeter found it surreal to be a sudden star 


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At the time when Jeter joined the Yankees, New York was the center of the universe, as Jeter himself narrated. “New York was the center of the universe,” Jeter said. “The Knicks had good teams. The Rangers had won. Then hip-hop took it to another level: Puff, Jay-Z. Now here come the Yankees, and we dominated for a period of time. It just seemed like all eyes were on New York and all eyes were on us.”

The Yankees were already very popular in their own right and when Jeter’s enigmatic personality and his high-class performances made the news; he was bound to become the center of the universe as well.


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Recently in a GQ interview, Jeter narrated his thoughts on how surreal it was to be considered a peer among the people he thought to be distant stars; “You’d go to clubs or lounges and everyone was there. People you grew up watching: Denzel. Jack Nicholson. And they come over to you. They know you on a first-name basis! It’s a surreal experience when you’re that young and you’re having success. I don’t know if I can articulate how weird it is.”

Jeter’s stardom in his early days 

Despite becoming a sudden star, Jeter didn’t let it get to his head. He is, to this day, considered one of the most classy and cleanest stars. Despite the attention he received, Jeter remained humbled and focused on his craft. “The bottom line was I had a job to do. I was playing every day to keep my job,” he added.


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As the former Yankees captain rose to new heights with his fame, he never lost sight of his true passion – baseball. His love for baseball could be seen in his immaculate plays, even when he just started. It seems like he did not have time to soak in his stardom. Not until he was acknowledged by his childhood stars as a peer that he fully grasped the magnitude of his fame. 

WATCH THIS STORY: Derek Jeter Net Worth : How rich is the MLB legend compared to Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry

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Written by:

Garima Verma


One take at a time

Garima is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. She has recently graduated as a Master's student in Media and Communications. She is an avid reader and an ardent cinema fan.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Kumar