Iman Shumpert rocks a flat top on the court.
Photo: Getty Images
Keeping ourselves apprised of all the intersecting happenings in the worlds of music and fashion doesn’t leave us with much bandwidth for sports. For the New York Knicks’ youngest player Iman Shumpert, though, we’re willing to make exceptions. So willing, in fact, that we’re carving out this explicit time to illustrate why (if you didn’t already) you need to know about this guy. During the 2012 NBA Playoffs, Shumpert suffered a knee injury — a torn ACL and meniscus, to be precise — which kept him off the court for the entire summer and for much of this season until a little over a week ago. But injury didn’t keep Shumpert down, he used his time away from the hardwood to rehab his knee, release one of history’s most palatable NBA player-turned-rapper crossover mixtapes (go ahead and check out the rest of the rapping baller annals for proof), and cultivate a clear style identity — one that extends much further than the flat top haircut that’s been garnering him so much attention lately.
Iman Shumpert shows off his spiked Knicks snapback.
Photo: Courtesy of @is_21_nykallday’s Instagram
It’s not like the Knicks franchise (or the NBA as a whole, for that matter) is experiencing any shortage of sartorially savvy players. From New York’s own Met Gala veterans Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire to GQ man Russell Westbrook or Del Toro collaborating Dwyane Wade, this generation of basketball players fully embraces fashion in a way previous ones may not have. What makes Iman Shumpert extra special, though, is his ability (whether consciously or not) to bridge them both, to identify the most deliciously weirdtresting elements of eras he’s too young to remember while freshening them up to fit within the modern style landscape.
Iman Shumpert wore Jeremy Scott x adidas Originals Streetball sneakers on the court.
Photo: Getty Images/Far Fetch
The January 21 Knicks game against the Brooklyn Nets was only Shumpert’s second appearance this 2012-2013 season, but the noted sneakerhead had the style cojones to take whatever liberties he could with his uniform. Against a backdrop of BK black-and-white, Shumpert stood waaaaay out in his throwback Kid ’N Play high top fade accented with a pair of jaw-dropping Jeremy Scott x adidas Originals Streetball sneakers — high-tops with panels of white, eggplant, translucent neon green, orange, and LEOPARD, replete with a baroque-style adidas crest on the tongue. Unfortunately, the blue and orange couldn’t put a stop to Joe Johnson and the Nets that night, but Shumpert won a place in our streetwear-loving hearts with his exemplary attention to detail and ballsy return to the court.
Hip-hop and hoops have been a match made in heaven from 1994 to 2011 and every year before, between, and to follow. It’s our hope, though, that Iman Shumpert, his Th3 #Post90s mixtape, and his clear appreciation for remixing influences and cultures in style are forging a beautiful, long-lived future for fashion and basketball. One that doesn’t shy away from a bold print or accessory, is mindful about balancing silhouettes, and cares about the interplay of textures. And maybe one day we’ll even add a third “H” to the line-up: hip-hop, hoops, and haute couture. Either way, Iman Shumpert has earned a spot on our style star radar, and we’ll be keeping our eyes on him as the Knicks work their way toward this season’s playoffs.
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