With the dust settled on the 2012-13 season, it’s time to focus on the summer activities for the New York Knicks and the lighter side of the players as they spend some of the offseason off the floor at various events around the globe.
On Tuesday morning, KnicksNow caught up with fan favorite and NBA up-and-comer Iman Shumpert at his basketball camp at Highlands Middle School in White Plains. We covered wide-ranging topics, so buckle-up, enjoy the ride, and find out the latest on Shump.
Back To Ball
Shumpert enters an offseason without a lockout or significant rehab, which hindered his first two summers in the league. The versatile playmaker described his approach to workouts after a brief break from ball.
“First off, I took a couple of weeks off, just because I came back in the middle of the year,” Shumpert explained. “You know, the doctors were saying, ‘you want to give your body that time to just reset itself, you now get back with the loss of us playing all those games toward the end of the year,’ and now I’m just working on getting back into the swing of things. Nothing too crazy, I know training camp isn’t tomorrow but I’m definitely working my game, trying to polish things up.”
He talked about the difference between the summers of 2012 compared to 2013, specifically surrounding his surgically repaired knee.
“The thing with that knee is, I have to keep doing rehab. I know it’s not completely that is something behind me but I would rather do rehab everyday to keep it strong than for me not to be able to walk, so I’m just smiling that I can walk, I can run, I can jump, I can hangout, I can actually get on planes this summer, so I’m all smiles.”
More on the knee injury that occurred in the 2012 playoffs in Miami, “It feels great. I’m not thinking about anymore. I feel like it is long behind me, the ACL tear. I’m happy with the things I worked on when I was hurt, I feel like it brought a new aspect to my game. Now, I’m just looking to come into next season all ready – clean slate with a training camp under my belt, so I’m excited for it.”
21 Shump Street To Sin City
The question was posed to Shumpert on whether he will attend this year’s NBA Summer League and represent the Knicks for the first time in his career.
“Yeah man, I’ll be out there. I’m not a big Vegas guy, I don’t gamble but I’ll be out there for hoops,” Shumpert stated.
He added, “I’m going to come out there and work on my stuff. It was tough losing in the playoffs but I felt like I built a foundation and I just need to build on that every chance I go out there and play. If I play any summer basketball besides the Summer League, I just want to work on my game.”
Good Luck and Get Ready Coach Kidd
As Jason Kidd moves from the court to the sidelines, Shumpert wanted to wish him good luck in his new endeavor but had a follow up message for his former teammate.
“It was great for me to play on the same team as him and for me to see him make that transition from player to coach in a couple of weeks was definitely cool for me. Jason knows we are gonna come out there to beat him.”
Kanye, Jay-Z, J.Cole, & Capri Pants
Just to mix it up a bit, I placed Shumpert on the hot seat to ask the music enthusiast his thoughts on the best album of the summer thus far. His answer may surprise you.
“I love Kanye’s album but I can’t take away from how good J. Cole’s album is,” Shumpert analyzed. “I’m not saying Kanye’s album got blown out or anything, I’m just saying J. Cole’s album is classic to me and I love it and I just want to send a salute to him.”
Staying on the music theme, Shumpert said one of the texts he received after his monster one-handed putback dunk against Indiana in the playoffs was from legendary producer, DJ, and rapper, Pete Rock.
Moving to the fashion scene, Shumpert provided some advice for me when discussing the recent trend of capri pants seen on players like Dwyane Wade.
“I say capri pants are cool. I like capri pants,” Shumpert reacted.
I interjected and asked about the possibility of wearing them this summer. He answered with a sly smile, “You can, you have to do it the right way. Everybody ain’t gonna like it. You are gonna get some people that are gonna get made at you for it. It’s whatever you like though, if you like it, then you wear it Jonah.”
The 2013 NBA Draft is just days away and with the Knicks owning the No. 24 pick, Shumpert’s former college teammate is a real option.
“They say Glen Rice in there. I’m rooting for Glen Rice; he went to Georgia Tech with me. I’m rooting for Glen Rice.”