Iman Shumpert and his brother, Ahrii Shumpert, give Boardroom the inside story on the creation of their new podcast, “Iman Amongst Men.”
As Iman Shumpert and his brother, Ahrii, sit in the back of Boardroom’s NYC office, the two are as cool as can be. The dynamic duo is preparing for the launch of their new podcast, “Iman Amongst Men,” on the Uninterrupted network co-founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
In each episode of the show, the brothers will be joined by culturally-relevant celebrity guests. Conversations will touch subjects like money, mental wellness, parenting, and relationships.
The podcast landed on Uninterrupted because of Shumpert’s trust in LeBron. “They do the barber shop show (The Shop) and their whole vibe of that reminded me of my brother,” he said.
Ahrii Shumpert has been cutting hair since the two were kids. As he recalls of those distant memories, “Back in the day at our parents’ house, I used to cut hair in the basement and it became a thing because all of our friends used to come. It was a shop episode without the camera crews. It could be 10 or 11 people down there.”
In those days, the guests who’d pass through the Shumperts’ basement used to be family and friends. “Iman Amongst Men,” meanwhile, will feature names like JR Smith, Matt Barnes, Jacob Latimore, Hebru Brantley, and comedian Lil Rel Howery.
Episodes will be released every Thursday, with the first dropping this week. Video recordings of the interviews will be available the following Monday.
In the age of podcasts today current and former NBA players who host shows are accompanied by a co-host. Boardroom’s “The ETCs” features Kevin Durant alongside Eddie Gonzalez. “The Old Man and the Three” is hosted by JJ Redick with Tommy Alter in tow. “The Pivot” features a triumvirate of former NFL players — Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder, and Fred Taylor — while “I Am Athlete” rotates its hosts. Each show has elected to lean on organic friendships to find its ideal balance.
The same cannot be said for “Iman Amongst Men.”
This one’s all about blood.
“When I listen to podcasts, it’s like a barbershop conversation that is getting broadcasted. So in the times that I’ve been thinking about getting my hair cut, Ahrii been cutting my hair since the fifth grade. Naturally, I talk to him the most,” Iman explained. “We used to fight a lot, but once we figured out that [he] is my best friend, he gets it and that’s why we get into it so much. I can fight him and then eat cereal with him.”
Ahrii, meanwhile, showcases his excitement in spurts. In most cases, Iman pulls it out of him as the two often sidebar to debate a minute detail.
“People will learn I’m really just a normal guy,” Ahrii says modestly. “I do have set values and those values usually carry over into how I live. A lot of my perspective usually ties back into my values as a man and as a human being that’s what I try to convey in the pod–”
Iman interrupts him.
“Ahrii was always how I got to test stuff growing up. When I saw his wrong turn that was my win–”
Suddenly, Ahrii is the one cutting his brother off: “I was his guinea pig.”
“I ain’t saying all that,” Iman responds with a chuckle, “but as he was navigating life I was realizing he was doing stuff I could win off of. [Ahrii] was the temperature of a man to me. This is the closest walk to my father that I see. He absorbed whatever father that my father had in him.”
Career off the Court
Managing all of this takes time, but Iman says the example set for him makes him hungry to be better.
“Every day I try to be like my dad was. My dad always had a lot to do and if he wasn’t doing nothing he was trying to enjoy his house,” he said. “He used to be hustling all day. He constantly preached work ethic [like], ‘we ain’t have no choice, this is man stuff.’ Constantly, I was always thinking how to get jobs like he did.”
All told, the podcast is just one of many paths Iman has paved for himself off the basketball court. Shumpert was the first NBA player to win Dancing with the Stars, he has a clothing brand called Centerpiece, he is a character in both Showtime’s The Chi and BET’s Twenties, and has a new album dropping this summer called The Car Ain’t Stolen.
In taking a step back and surveying these accomplishments, the person Iman finds himself to be today is a result of the foundation that his father helped to build within him.
“They always used to say, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket,’ or ‘if basketball doesn’t work out, you have to have a backup plan.’ Well, [the NBA] backup-planned me to death, and then I got to the league, they were telling me to focus,” he said. “I’m already with it now. I like the fashion stuff I learned [and] I went to school and did an independent study in music, [so] it’s not far off that I want to drop an album. I’ve been doing spoken words since I was a shorty. I balance it by constantly looking in the mirror and trying to see my dad.”
And while envisioning his father keeps him motivated, Shumpert relies on those he chooses to keep around him to keep his life from veering off its course.
“I keep [Ahrii] around me, I keep my best friends that I grew up with around me, and they take me back to childhood memories where we are grounded.”
“Iman Amongst Men” is the latest product of that groundedness. Doing it alongside the person who knows him best, it may be his most honest one yet.
You can find “Iman Amongst Men” on Uninterrupted’s YouTube channel and social platforms. Listeners can also tune in on Apple Music, Spotify and wherever else they get their podcasts.