Former first-round draft pick Iman Shumpert has been out of the league since the 2020 season after spending a short time with the Brooklyn Nets. In his career, Shumpert has proven to be a serviceable player, averaging 7.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in 461 career games. Shumpert has remained busy during his time away from the court as the 31-year-old won season 30 of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2021. But his basketball hiatus could soon be coming to a close. Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports, reports that the NBA champion is in talks to join rapper Ice Cube’s BIG3 basketball league.
“NBA Champ Iman Shumpert has been in discussions to join Ice Cube’s [BIG3] sources tell Bally Sports,” Scoop B said per his Twitter account on April 22. “The Dancing With the Stars winner was the Knicks’ 17th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft & has also played for the Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets & Brooklyn Nets.”
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BIG3 Director Wants Players To Use League as NBA Launchpad
Shumpert has not played in the NBA since his 2-game stint with the Nets in 2020, but he is not officially retired from the league. The 2016 champ could use the 3-on-3 league as a launchpad to prove he can still play and get another shot to crack an NBA roster. Big3 director of basketball operations, Thomas Scott, says that players using the league as a way to get back to the NBA would be the “best thing” for the BIG3.
“The best thing for our league would be that veterans can use the BIG3 as a platform to get back in the NBA,” Scott said to Marc J. Spears of “Andscape”, in 2019. “If Joe Johnson gets back into the NBA, Nick Young and JR Smith might look at our league as a way back in.”
Joe Johnson Sounds off About Time With BIG3
If Shumpert does join the BIG3, he won’t be the first former Nets player to do so. 7-time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson also spent time in the 3-on-3 league, and shined during his tenure. Johnson won the BIG3’s Most Valuable Player award in 2019 after leading the league in points (175), assists (31), four-point shots (4), total field goals (63) and finishing second in three-pointers made (16). As a result of his play, he started to garner interest from NBA teams and ultimately signed a deal to join the Boston Celtics during the 2021 season. While there is no doubt that his emergence in the BIG3 contributed to him getting back to the NBA, he insists that is not the reason he joined the league.
“I am hopeful to get back, but I did not get in the BIG3 to get back to the league,” Johnson said to Marc J. Spears of “Andscape” in 2019. “I had a great career. I enjoyed the process. The only thing that keeps the NBA fire in the belly is how it ended in Houston. That just does not sit well with me. So, if an opportunity comes along and I feel that it is worth it, yeah, I take that chance.”
At just 31 years of age Shumpert is still relatively young and could have a lot of game left in the tank. His stint in the BIG3 could be what propels him back to the NBA.