When WWD interviewed NBA player Iman Shumpert three years ago, his life was much different. Shumpert’s girlfriend at the time, artist Teyana Taylor, is now his wife, and they have an almost two-year-old daughter named Iman Jr. and nicknamed Junie — he’s set to star in a VH1 reality TV show with his family next year.
Shumpert also looks and behaves differently. He’s cut off his signature high top fade — he explains why later on — and feels less inhibited by what it typically means to be a basketball player.
“I’m playing ball. I’m rapping. I’m doing my clothing line, but every time I try to do the other stuff people say that I’m not focused on basketball,” said Shumpert, sounding frustrated. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Despite this, Shumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, next year, and helping raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. Here, the Cleveland Cavaliers player talks about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and his other projects.
WWD: What’s happening with your music?
Iman Shumpert: What I’m doing now is making songs that are gassed on love, gassed on an affection for a woman because that never dies. Talking about love never dies and Teyana suggested I make more music that can connect with women.
WWD: Is it personal?
I.S.: Naturally coming from me you are going to get personal. If you wanted impersonal and politically correct, you get one of the superstar players in the league and ask them to do a rap song. I’m done with that part of my life. I have a championship, I have a wife, we’ve made our child, we are going to continue to grow our family, but I’m done with not being transparent.
WWD: How do you feel about the NBA’s rule against kneeling during the U.S. national anthem?
I.S.: It’s a branding thing and I totally understand. I think the NBA is doing its best to protect its players. Now with football, it’s easier for them to demonstrate certain things because they can hide behind a helmet. You can see a player on the street and a pack of people can decide to demonstrate and now the NBA has no way of protecting them. The NBA wants us to remain strong as individuals but as a collective unit when we are wearing the logo. If certain players start to do it that becomes the story. We are getting paid to do a job and entertain these people and let’s not turn it into a circus because Trump decided to call someone a son of a b—h.
WWD: What’s going on with your clothing line?
I.S.: Post 90s came from me posting about the Nineties because I’m a Nineties kid and everything that I’ve enjoyed creatively came from the Nineties era. Post 90s is turning into Post to Be 90s, and it means it’s supposed to be the Nineties. We are supposed to take that era and enhance it rather than try to change it and bring a new face. Why not take the little details we didn’t get right and let’s fix it? We like these joggers, just taper the ankle. We like these Windbreakers, just make it so my phone doesn’t fall out the pocket. Right now the line is just merch. You are going to get the Nineties head logo, but we are going to go more upscale. That line will be out next year.
WWD: Do you currently have any formal fashion partnerships?
I.S.: No. Because I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder with a lot of brands and I’ve reached out to a lot of people creatively as Iman, but they want a hot Iman Shumpert. Not in a sexualized way, but hot as in your name is hot right now. They want Iman after Iman signs a huge contract. They don’t want Iman’s brain to just come up with something and they don’t want to give me creative control. I will never sign up to be a part of anything where I’m not involved creatively. That’s where I ran into trouble with Adidas. With Adidas after a while I was just collecting a check and I’m not being creative.
WWD: Did you ask for more creative license?
I.S.: I begged. I begged and pleaded.
WWD: What made you get rid of the high top fade?
I.S.: I got sick of the maintenance and once we had Junie we had to take time to do her hair. So I’ve learned how to do Junie’s hair and it’s like I can’t worry about doing my hair, which took an hour, and then worry about doing my daughter’s hair. It was a lot.
WWD: You say you don’t have a stylist, so when do you have time to shop? And where do you shop?
I.S.: We all have the time to shop. I shop at Barneys. I shop at Neiman’s. I shop at Oak. I shop at Rick Owens. In Cleveland, it’s not bad. They have a store called Exhibition. They have Saks, Neiman’s, Topshop, Urban Outfitters and H&M. I’m mix and match. That’s another reason I can’t have a stylist. They think because I’m going to a championship game that I need to wear Tom Ford. If Tom Ford has a banging suit that I want, then cool. But I look just as good in H&M.
WWD: What’s your connection with St. Maarten?
I.S.: I love vacationing in St. Maarten and my accountant has ties there with the prime minister of health. After the hurricanes I noticed a lot of people raising money for different islands, but not a lot was happening for the smaller islands. I wore a St. Maarten jersey I had made and posted a picture of it on Instagram and people went crazy for it, so I decided to produce more and sell them for charity. This money is not going to some organization. It’s us collecting money that will go directly to families that need help. Even if it’s something that’s small, it’s a dope gesture.