New York Knicks rookie point guard Iman Shumpert is confident in his skills on the court. Are you surprised?
In a recent Wednesday Journal article, he's quoted responding to the hounding New York sports reporters who've asked if the 21-year-old is nervous in the spotlight.
"I don't have a reason to be nervous," he tells them. "It's just basketball. I've been wanting to be in the NBA all my life, and now I'm here. I don't see a point in being nervous."
Shumpert, a 2008 graduate of , has been a breakout star in the Big Apple despite battling some injuries and lingering doubt from Knicks fans.
Tim Rohan of the New York Times wrote in a Jan. 7 article after the team's 103-80 triumph over the Detroit Pistons that Shumpert is "confident beyond his years" with "relentless defense."
What's more, he appears to be accountable to his team and to its rabid fans. He's amassed a following of more than 41,000 followers on Twitter and it's not uncommon for him to Tweet out messages shouldering the blame, like this after a Jan. 12 loss to Memphis:
I put that one on me...I wasn't a PG at all tonight. That was a lousy floor game.
(And if you're really curious to know more about his off-court persona, he's created his own hashtag, #iMansiPod, a rolling account of songs he's listening to while traveling or relaxing.)
The affection is apparently overflowing in New York. New York Post sportswriter Mike Vaccaro calls Shumpert "the darling of Madison Square Garden right now, a pied piper with fewer than 10 NBA games to his credit and yet his every move provokes unmatched energy at the Garden, inspires unconditional affection."
Can it last?
Vaccaro praises the rookie guard but offers some words to the wise: "the Garden doesn’t keep you around as a favorite son for long."