On MLK day this year, Shumpert was once again mocked for his fashion. While several of his teammates flossed in the locker room with their Black History Month special edition sneakers, he pulled out a pair of adidas Jeremy Scott Streetballs. It’s a beautiful shoe with numerous vibrant colors and even some fuzzy cheetah print. Again, “you better not” was uttered but Shump knew what he was doing. Steal the cameras, just as planned.
Sneaker sites and Basketball Twitter validated his choice. He considered rocking the JS Wings, but figured he wouldn’t be allowed. “The Jeremy Scotts, I didn’t care if my foot was bleeding in them,” he says. “I was surprised and didn’t think they would hold up, maybe I’d have to change them after the first quarter—because looking at them, you don’t think they can handle as much as they can but they handle fine. They held together great. I wear them off court now like I never played in them.”
His partnership with adidas has been great for the Three Stripes brand as they have logged heavy coverage via the stylish Shumpert, who adds flair to anything he puts on. Shump’s favorite sneakers this season were the Crazy 8s, Top Tens and Real Deals. He fell in love with the Crazyquicks after being convinced to try them by his adidas rep Zach Fawcett. “When I saw them with the jerseys, I was like, They sick,” he says.
He has a very detailed strategy when it comes to changing into a new pair on court.
“Say I got a pair I want to wear—I give it two gos in practice,” he says. “And then once I feel like it’s broken in, I’ll play in it. If I have a really good game, you probably won’t see those for a while. If I have a good game, I might wear them a couple times. If I have a really good game in them, then I’m alright and won’t wear those for a bit. It’s all about psyching yourself out in your head. If I feel like I have a cool shoe on, I feel like I can go for 30. If I have a team shoe on, I feel like I should come off the bench that game. That’s just how I am. When I’m on the free-throw line sometimes, I just stare at people’s shoes. I’ve always been like that, ever since I was little. If I have a certain shoe on, Crazy 8s, and you have—I’m going to mess with Dwight ’cause he’s here—on Dwight Howard’s shoes, I feel like I got to show you up. If we both got on Crazy 8s, I got to give you that respect, I can press full court because he feels like how I feel, he can go for 30 today because he has a cool shoe on. That’s how it’s got to be. That’s how the sneaker community goes!”
Off court, Shumpert likes to rock Torsions, Gazelles and the classic Samba. “I saw the soccer players wearing them and I love that super big tongue,” Shump says.
He enjoys the Jeremy Scott line and is holding out hope he can one day put together a fit that will work with the JS Bears. “I’m not saying I’m not going to wear them, because I’m going to figure out what to wear them with but I haven’t figured it out yet, I’m actually having a little trouble getting those to work,” he explains. “I like the challenge of how the designer saw this working. They obviously saw it the right way. If I can see their vision with my little twist, we’re all good. They’re on ice, but they gone see them. When everybody dirties theirs up, I might pull mine out. Mine are still fresh.”
At home, Shumpert likes to showcase his sneaks as if he has his very own sneaker spot. He has his shoes out of the box, resting on shelves. “My foot has gotten so big now, I can’t put as many as I want on the shelf.”
We come back to fashion, the reason why I’m here. Shumpert enjoys conversing on the topic and if you follow his Instagram, you can tell he’s serious about his fits. “My style is one-of-a-kind, never seen anything like it, I really like what I wear,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll rock a certain shoe because it’s so loud and I kind of want that attention off having crazy shoes.”
I ask him if he read the NY Times interview with Kanye West, specifically about a question Ye was asked regarding some of his questionable outfits in the past. In the Q+A, Ye had said that some of his previous choices made him want to “kill self.” He wasn’t serious, but his disgust in some of his decisions was clear.
Shump seemed shocked. “Word?”
The topic shifts to design and Iman lets me in on a little secret. “I designed my own kilt,” he says proudly. “People were thinking, oh Kanye wore a kilt so now he wants one. It has nothing to do with Kanye or anyone else who has ever worn a kilt. First of all, my kilt does not look like anybody else’s because I would never wear something short that looks like a skirt. So I designed a long one. I’m a Game of Thrones guy too, thank God for Game of Thrones, best show on TV! I like looking at the fashion of kings and knights—their fashion was dope! A lot of that stuff was really dope. I understand that it doesn’t look right in society, yet. But I feel like it’s going to go there.”
Maybe someday, Shumpert can be that bridge.
“I still haven’t found the correct way to bring it out, or figured out what event to wear it to,” he says. “But I have it. Oh, I have it. I feel like there is going to be some sort of trend that bridges guys buying it. That’s the whole thing with fashion and looking different. You just got to know, or you have to accept that everybody is not ready for this but in time they will appreciate it.”