Oak Park native, NBA star Iman Shumpert opens up in 1st hometown interview since winning DWTS 2021

He shares his 'Dancing With the Stars' experience, what's next in his career and more

Samantha Chatman Image
Monday, December 6, 2021
Iman Shumpert talks about winning 'Dancing With the Stars': EXCLUSIVE
Oak Park native and NBA star Iman Shumpert talked about what it was like transforming into a dancer and what's next for the free agent's basketball career.

OAK PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Trading in his sneakers for dance shoes, Oak Park native and NBA star Iman Shumpert talked about what it was like transforming into a dancer and what's next for the free agent's basketball career.

He sat down in an exclusive with ABC7's Samantha Chatman for his first in-person hometown interview since taking home the mirror ball trophy after winning this season's "Dancing With the Stars."

Glistening inside his parent's River Forest home, the mirror ball trophy has officially arrived at its final destination.

"Feels good to be back home with the trophy," Shumpert said. "I think it's just the best part for me, though, I enjoyed the experience. I know I originally went on the show to get that trophy and bring it to my mom."

It's something his mom, L'Tanya, has been holding on to ever since. She's been a fan of the show for years.

"The whole time, I was very excited," She said. "When he said he might do the show, and then he said, you know, 'I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna do the show,' and then I got like heart palpitations."

Shumpert's parents said growing up, their son always loved music.

"He actually had a choreograph something for, was it sixth grade on the talent show? They brought down the house," L'Tanya said when asked if he danced when he was younger. "But nothing of course like what he did on Dancing With the Stars."

Despite the excitement of the former Oak Park and River Forest High School basketball player being drafted for the show, Shumpert's parents said they didn't initially think he was going to win the season.

"No, no! Once he got the low scores from the first dance, I said, 'This doesn't look good. This doesn't look good at all,'" his father said. "Then I started to notice each week he got better with his footwork, his arms; I told him, 'Why don't you go out and get a 40?' And guess what, he got a 40!"

It didn't take long for Shumpert to shock the world with his dance moves and prove how quickly he could improve week after week, with the help of his partner, Daniella.

His freestyle where he showed off his footwork skills is a favorite among many. It's something Shumpert said he used to make fun of his friends for when he was younger.

"I used to be the kid at the parties that was like, 'Ah man! Y'all are about to start footworking,'" he recalled. "Then, from mimicking it so much... I just remember looking in the mirror and it clicked again! And I was like, 'Oh man, I'm home.' I really felt like I was in Chicago."

His family cheered him on every step of the way. His wife, singer and songwriter Teyana Taylor, stressed the importance of putting on a good show.

"She would say, 'Don't think about that. You know your steps; you've been practicing all week. Don't worry about the steps.' She was like, 'The performance, the camera, where's the camera gonna be,'" Shumpert said. "That's one of Teyana's biggest things -- make me believe it."

Even while competing and practicing his dance moves, sometimes twice a day, he was still training in the gym and on the court for his next NBA team.

Naturally, the Chicago-area native said the Bulls would be a "dream come true."

"Just to finally see my name on that jersey... This one of the reasons I play ball -- to play on the Bulls," he said. "I remember being that kid in the 300 level and just being like, man, I have to get down there. I have to play down there."

Adding, "I'm always available for the Bulls!"

In the meantime, Shumpert has been working on new music, including his new single "Outside," which is available for streaming. He and his family are also featured in the latest campaign for the loungewear line Skims.