Iman Shumpert Shares an Amazing Story of Guarding Kobe Bryant as a Knick

Shumpert recalled two stories involving the late NBA legend; one was inspiration and the other was amusing.

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During a recent appearance on Ebro in the MorningIman Shumpert shared his two favorite memories of the late Kobe Bryant. One was inspiration and the other was amusing, but both served as reminders of Kobe's greatness.

"Kobe came and talked to my high school once ..." Shumpert told Peter Rosenberg at the 35:20 mark. "Somebody asked a question, but basically he was speaking on people sayin', 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket' type of thing ... and he said he never believed in it, because he felt, 'If I'm putting all my eggs in a basket to go for this—if I failed, and this basket drop and all the eggs break, why nobody told me I can just make more eggs?'"

Shumpert recalled Bryant delivering his answer with so much conviction that it felt as though Bryant was looking straight at him the entire time.

"But he couldn't see me, and I felt it," Shumpert continued. "I was just like, 'He just really believes what he's saying.' And he wanted to inspire me—and he did."

Shumpert then jumped into his second story. Though he couldn't recall the exact date, Shumpert said he remembers guarding Bryant during a Lakers vs. Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. Shumpert, who played for the Knicks between 2011 and 2015, said he was very pleased with his performance during the first three quarters—so much so that he was already congratulating himself inside his head. But that cockiness deteriorated in the fourth quarter.

"I can't remember how much he had, but I know I had multiple steals against him ..." Shumpert said. "In my head, all I'm thinking of is, 'When I have this conversation with my brother after the game, how I'm gonna tell him how I stole the ball from Kobe, how I stripped Kobe before he was fixin' to take a shot, how I drove by Kobe and got a dunk.' I'm thinking about all these things in my head. I'm so geeked. Then the fourth quarter starts ..."

Shumpert said that at top of the final quarter, Bryant came up to him and said, "You had a great game, young fella." Shumpert said the comment left him confused.

"I swear I looked at the clock, like, 'There's 12 minutes. What you talking about?' ... You ain't said nothing the whole game," he said. "I've been talking shit, I done stole the ball, I'm hyped as hell ... He ain't said not one word to me."

Little did he know that Bryant was about to dominate the fourth quarter.

"The man came down, fake shot, fake shot, threw it off the glass, caught it, threw it to the corner. I'm like, 'Bro what you on? You've been regular all day!" Shumpert recalled, prompting laughter in the studio. "... That whole good game that I thought I was having is just gone."

You can watch Shumpert's full interview above.

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