OPRF grad, Knicks guard Shumpert returns home

Oak Park native scores six points in 104-99 loss to Bulls

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By Brad Spencer

Sports Editor

It was just four years ago that Iman Shumpert was weaving through defenses in an OPRF High School basketball uniform. On Monday night, the Oak Park native donned a New York Knicks uniform and tried to give the team with the best record in the NBA — anchored by the reigning league MVP — a run for its money. Shumpert’s return to the Chicago area and his debut at the United Center ended with his favorite childhood team handing his current NBA team a 104-99 loss.

The former Huskie, who graduated from OPRF in 2008 and spent three years at Georgia Tech before being selected 17th overall in the first round of the NBA draft last summer, finished with six points, four rebounds and a block in just over 17 minutes of action. But the rookie’s return to the area trumped his paltry stat line for the night.

“It’s great being back home,” he said before the game. “I was able to get some Giordanos pizza and see some friends. Just seeing the city again means the world to me.”

Shumpert had about 15-20 family members and friends on hand for the game. Lifelong fans and Oak Parkers Mike and Barb White and their children, Mike Jr. and Megan, turned up adorned in the burnt orange and OPRF memorabilia with matching Knicks hats. They held up placards welcoming Shumpert home.  

“We’ve been following Iman since he was in seventh and eighth grade,” said White. Barb purchased the tickets and surprised the family at Christmas. “We’ll be back to see him again when the Knicks return in April.”

Shumpert recalled a time when as a young boy he traveled “right down Madison” to the United Center with his aunt and sat courtside. “It was a Celtics game and I was just crazy with joy. That’s the first real memorable one. I don’t know how old I was but I was happy, I was out-of-control happy.”

The 6-foot-5 point guard wasn’t too happy after Monday night’s game, but it had nothing to do with his dismal stats. It had everything to do with the loss itself.

“Iman is all about the team. He’s an incredibly selfless player,” said Al Allen, who coached Shumpert at OPRF. “He knows he’ll get more minutes down the line and he accepts that. If the team is winning, he’s happy.”

It was certainly a shooting fest as both teams had five players finish in double-digit scoring. Shumpert’s teammate Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 21 points, while the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, also a Chicago native, led all scorers with 32.

Ironically, Shumpert was matched up with fellow rookie Jimmy Butler several times in the game. The two guards worked out together in the offseason and currently share the same agent.  

“He’s a really good defender and he’s athletic as anybody,” said Butler of Shumpert. “He plays with an extreme amount of confidence and that’s really what you got to have in this league.”

Butler went on to gloat about Shumpert’s selfish play.

 “He knows that if you win championships [people] are going to remember that more than you averaging 25 points per game, and that’s the way he goes about everything. Get better but not just for yourself, also for your team. He’s always been a team player.”

As far as rookie’s go, Butler had the up on Shumpert on this night. He finished with eight points, played nearly 29 minutes, and his team — most importantly — walked away with the win.

Click here to read Brad Spencer's column on Shumpert's return to the area. 

Email: bspencer@oakpark.com Twitter: OakParkSports

Reader Comments

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Posted: March 15th, 2012 9:27 PM

@realitysux. Thanks for the post AND humor! Trust me, most people are clueless in understanding even the simplest of calculations regarding taxation. I respect those that at least acknowledge their ignorance, but "Tax Man" ain't one of them! Also loved your W post at 9:50! "More and more," too. Life ain't a zero sum game and congrats to Mr. Shumpert and his family!!!


Posted: March 15th, 2012 8:57 PM

Taxman- Apparently you must not pay taxes since you clearly do not understand the difference between MARGINAL and EFFECTIVE. The link I posted is straight from the CBO and your response doesn't refute my point. I belive you are what Ken trainor referred to as an ideologue and an uninformed voter in his column this week.

Tax Man  

Posted: March 15th, 2012 2:05 PM

$8,500-34,500: 15%. 34,500-83,600: 25%. 83,600- 174,400: 28%. 174,400-379,150: 33% 379,150- above: 39%....now add in all the deductions and ways to hide your income and you can be in a lower tax bracket?


Posted: March 15th, 2012 1:38 PM

TAX MAN- how is it that you are so ignorant? Federal taxes are progressive: Average federal tax rates generally rise with income. In 2007, households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution ( avg income of $18,400) paid about 4% of their income in federal taxes, while the middle quintile, with average income of $64,500, paid 14% and the highest quintile, with average income of $264,700, paid 25%. http://www.cbo.gov/publication/21938

Tax Man  

Posted: March 15th, 2012 12:27 PM

How is it that the 1% pay such a low tax rate? Why do the poor pay a bigger % of their checks to the gov compared to the 1%?

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: March 15th, 2012 11:18 AM

Parent, he's worth $ 23683.64 for his 6 points because the market says he is. A private transaction between 2 parties, the result of which does NOT cause anyone else to lose one dime. The potential supply of wealth is unlimited, unless of course the govt keeps confiscating it. Brian S, your ?, while intriguing, is irrelevant. Iman making his $$ doesn't impact whether we have a competent ER nurse when we need one. Agree w/realitysux, the 1% are not the problem, the 47 % not paying FedIncTax is.

B from Oak Park  

Posted: March 15th, 2012 11:08 AM

He was selected to the NBA Slam Dunk contest as a rookie and is tied for first in steals in the nba. He's having a much better rookie year than anticipated. Also it's a sport section article at a time where their are no high school sports playing games. It is an appropriate article commending a talented individual, who did a lot for OPRF outside of basketball. Whether it was the special ed program or spoken word. Also he has many people who follow him in town so this article is great for them.

More and more  

Posted: March 15th, 2012 8:36 AM

Jealousy is an ugly thing. Just move on. He doesnt need his degree now. Can always get his degree later if he needs too. I would take 1.5 million a year with no degree any day. Move on from that argument. He avg. 10 points per game and is tied for the NBA in Steals per game. Good enough for me as a rookie.


Posted: March 14th, 2012 9:50 PM

Rise- The top rookies were on display a few weeks ago at the Rising Stars (rookies and 2nd years)game during All Star weekend. Please explain how Shumpert is a top rookie if he wasn't even selected to participate? Also, it is hysterical to read all these glowing comments about a 21 yr. old who didn't graduate college making $1.56 million a year from the same people who attack those HOUSEHOLDS making over $250k as greedy selfish leeches. I thought the greedy 1% were the cause of all our problems.


Posted: March 14th, 2012 9:19 PM

As good as he is he aint worth $23,683.64 for 6 pts.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2012 4:40 PM

For the sake of discussion,what is more important to you? An NBA guard or an Emergency Room Nurse?Just asking out loud.


Posted: March 14th, 2012 3:16 PM

What did he make for those rebounds and 6 points the other night? How much did the people who put on pads every week make? I am jealous of him having a personal assistant.

Its hurts  

Posted: March 14th, 2012 9:35 AM

Its hard to stand back and come to grips with the fact that Iman is making about 1.5 million to play basketball. Jealousy is an awful thing to have Parent


Posted: March 14th, 2012 9:34 AM

Trying to get a rise out of people is such a way to go through life. Being regarded as a top rookie in the NBA is a pretty good start. Why so jealous Parent? Honestly? Come clean

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: March 14th, 2012 8:46 AM

Parent, you are clueless. Either that or you're just tweaking this for fun. But I'm thinking that in reality your one of these Occupy-types who haven't achieved your own dreams (or was too lazy to dream or plan) so you spend your time denegrating the success of others. I'm sure you think Mr Shumpert should transfer most of his wealth to the govt for the good of "the children". Just stop it...


Posted: March 14th, 2012 8:36 AM

17 min and 6 pts. I guess hes really taking the NBA and Oak Park by storm. More to come......


Posted: March 14th, 2012 8:01 AM

He is in the NBA. He chose a profession and succeeded in it, to the highest level. Find me another OPRF student that has done that recently at the age of 21 and I will personally write an article about them. Parent get a life. Debbie Downer


Posted: March 13th, 2012 11:34 PM

ZOMG! Sports in the Sports Section!

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 9:29 PM

Parent, you're correct. There are other students who achieve a great deal each day. What they don't achieve is one more specifi, exceptional skill level in an activity that is worth millions of dollars. That isn't shameful. It's NEWS! And that's why it's in the NEWSPAPER!


Posted: March 13th, 2012 5:19 PM

For all those things he was involved with, there are many other students who have done those and more that we will not hear about on these here pages. Shameful. More to come. Havent read about any of those activities in most of the articles.

NOPE 2012 from Oak Park  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 3:30 PM

If you really think about what this fine young man has achieved already, & the odds against it from purely a basketball standpoint, it's a great human interest story. From a simple achievement in ones profession perspective, he's almost on par with Hemingway & FLW. Not comparing the societal worth of hoops vs literature/arch, but he is at the pinacle of his chosen profession, and should be for the near future. Wrap your brain around that, Parent!!


Posted: March 13th, 2012 2:29 PM

Jealousy is a really bad trait. Especially as a PARENT

Parent you are clueless  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 2:27 PM

I guess being on the honor roll through high school and college. Working with adapted PE student as a volunteer through high school and while in the NBA and being a part of spoken word club through high school and college isnt a role model. What is Parent? Get a life


Posted: March 13th, 2012 12:29 PM

5 or 6 articles with photos all over OP.com? This athlete has received more pub than a state winning team or athlete that I remember. and MORE to come. LOL. If it was one column - i would understand. Go back and see how many pictures and columns or blurbs have been written n him in the last year.

Phil of Ideas  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 12:17 PM

If my child were at college and was offered millions of dollars to quit school and work professionally, either as a basketball player, cello player, or botanist, I would say GO, the college education will be there (if they still want it) but the $ might not. We send our kids to college to be ready to get a job to sustain themselves, right? Giving a pal a job seems good, too. Unlike the OPRFer just arrested for raping the girl on New Year's Eve, this seems like a local made good.

Settle Down  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 12:05 PM

@Parent - I agree that professional sports and movie stars get far too much press, attention and money,but you really need to relax. What's wrong with celebrating an athlete in a sport's column? You really didn't click on this article expecting a story on quantum physics did you?


Posted: March 13th, 2012 11:32 AM

I love the personal assistant idea. We all need one.


Posted: March 13th, 2012 11:31 AM

Even MORE COMING SOOOOOOON!!!!!Check back to Oak Park.com for an upcoming in-depth feature on Iman Shumpert's return to the area. His personal assistant Troy Aldridge, also a former hoops player for OPRF, reveals a few awestruck moments.


Posted: March 13th, 2012 10:59 AM

Inspiring who not to give up? Only kids going to college to leave for money? Thats OK? I love it when the positive role models are used UNTIL "they" do something illegal or stupid(Tiger Woods) and then we all ask, We do we make people role models? Iman is brand new to the NBA. He may become a role model in 15 years if he proves himself at such. Until then I think this unnecessary PUB in the last 4 months is way over the top and unnecessary. JMHO

Settle Down  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 7:37 AM

@Parent - First of all, this is a sports column thus emphasis on sports. However, you make a good point that we need more publicity on the other success stories. WJ, Oak Leaves and Trib Local will publish those stories but they must be submitted - I encourage you to be someone who makes positive change! BTW, crime stories, sex scandals and corruption will always trump good stories, that's the reality of "news."

Sean Ristau from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: March 13th, 2012 5:59 AM

@Parent- You are the definition of ignorant. Iman is in a public spotlight and doing something where children can see him inspiring them to never give up on their goals. If you don't like that he is a positive role model then come up with something of your own which will do the same for kids. Otherwise shut up.


Posted: March 13th, 2012 12:12 AM

How much pub are you going to give this guy? There are Oak Park students that have graduated from OPRF and gone on to Ivy league schools and have graduated with PhD's and come back to a lot less than this athlete has received. Where are the priorities?

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