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May 31, 2017

Iman Shumpert

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. How impressive is it that this matchup is now three years in a row?
IMAN SHUMPERT: Two best teams usually meet off at the end.

Q. Do you appreciate, though, what the Cavs have been able to do to get to The Finals three years in a row?
IMAN SHUMPERT: Of course. Since I've been in this league, it's hard to get to the playoffs, let alone march all the way to The Finals. But I think we got a great group of guys, headlined by one of the best guys to ever do it. That gives us a chance in any game.

Q. Do you feel like this is a rivalry?

Q. So how do you feel about your chances this year?
IMAN SHUMPERT: As I said, we always have a chance.

Q. What's the most excited or eager you ever were to watch a sporting event?
IMAN SHUMPERT: The year the Bulls got put out of the playoffs by the Magic. Watching that series was probably it. I used to root for Horace Grant. I was a Bulls fan, but I used to root for Horace Grant and Penny. So it was bittersweet to watch them win, because I wanted Mike to win so I could keep watching him in the playoffs. I think that's probably the most excited I've ever been. I used to wear the whole wear Bulls outfit and all that.

Q. Why Horace Grant?
IMAN SHUMPERT: I don't remember why Horace Grant was my favorite. I think he used to dunk on a lot of people with the Bulls. So I think just seeing him dunk on people, he was aggressive. I liked aggressive plays.

Q. Does LeBron take on a role like a big brother when you guys go in a big series like this? Does he give pep talks? Does he say anything?
IMAN SHUMPERT: No, he's pretty much a handle business type of guy. I think that there are times that he needs to be vocal and he does that, but he's not out here trying to tell you how to walk and chew gum. He's one of those guys that leads by example. He'll put himself on the front line to get shot at first. He's one of those guys.

So when you have that type of leader, you pretty much have an easy route as far as getting on the same page and communicating, making sure that we know what's coming, making sure we know what the adjustment is in advance.

Q. People talk about how smart he is as a basketball player.
IMAN SHUMPERT: Oh, yeah. It's amazing to see how many steps ahead he is. You're used to one or two steps ahead, but a guy that knows what you want to run quarter by quarter, he knows what guy you're trying to get going at certain times of the game. There are times where we're entering the second quarter and he's telling me before we go out there that they're about to run the next three plays to try to get this guy going, and if we stop him, this game's over. You know what I'm saying? He's just been playing so much basketball. He's seen every coach's scheme. And the best thing about it is he's willing to share it with all the guys on the team.

Q. On game day, is there any different preparation that goes in for The Finals, or are you just a routine kind of guy?
IMAN SHUMPERT: No, I'm a routine guy. I'm going to do what I've been doing to get there. There are some guys that switch it up, that have different type of rituals. Mine remains the same. I do my shooting workout and I play one-on-one. That's it.

Q. Do you not want to change because you're superstitious or you just --
IMAN SHUMPERT: I just like to play one-on-one. You know what I mean? That's how I have to prepare for what I have to do for this team anyway. I have to prepare myself for the one-on-one challenge. I may be guarding somebody at the end of the quarter, at the end of the game, I have to be ready to go. I may come in the game when somebody's hot and have to cut their water off.

But that's my job. The only way for me to really get that good at it is to just go to war as many times as I can by myself with no help. Luckily, I have teammates that, even though they're sore, a couple of guys are a little older, I get them out there to play one-on-one with me. So I appreciate them for that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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