ESPN Playbook recently turned to Iman Shumpert and three pros from different sports who exude swagger.
Shumpert joined San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley — to get their take.
Here is what Shumpert had to say:
1. What does it mean to you to have swagger as an athlete?
Shumpert: “Swagger as an athlete is undoubtedly doing whatever it takes to win, but making it look easy. It’s an energy you bring that lets your game speak for itself. It’s the way you carry yourself on and off the court that makes people want to watch you. Swagger is not about what you do; it’s how you do it. It’s not what you wear; it’s how you wear it.”
2. How do you think, or how have you been told, you have swagger?
Shumpert: “Of course I have been. I think it’s in my attitude and confidence. I may not always be the best dressed, but I bet everyone in the room will know I’m there. You have to have a presence. I’m not like everyone else and I carry myself as such. In order to have swagger, you have to have an aura, a vibe that surrounds you that makes everyone interested to know more. And I think I have that.”
3. Who was the first athlete, in your mind, to have/popularize swagger?
Shumpert: “Michael Jordan, without a doubt. He had a hunger to win every single time he stepped on the court. His energy and desire is what separated him from everyone else. He was a true lover of basketball, not about the materialistic things that come with the game today. He said it best, ‘It’s not about the shoes; it’s about what you do in them.’ When you hear the name Michael Jordan, what do you think of? Exactly.”
4. Which athletes in any sport nowadays have the most swagger to you?
Shumpert: “I feel basketball players have the most swag because we have less equipment on and everyone knows our faces. Basketball being the most finesse sport, in my opinion, makes it easy to steal that shine.”
5. Do you think the word “swagger” is misused or overused at all?
Shumpert: “I do think the word is overused and misused. People are starting to use the word to brag, but seem less cocky. It’s used to flaunt money and other things that a lot of people can’t buy. I enjoy the fact that people can relate to me. I’m not a fan of fads or trends; I like to create my own. Originality is key; I like to create my own phrases.”
6. Is there a word you created to replace “swagger” to describe an athlete?
Shumpert: “I use the word ‘swayyy.’ It’s more than ‘swagger.’ I’d like to consider it the ultimate level of perfection and extraordinaire that only certain individuals achieve. It’s more exclusive. Nowadays, anyone can have swag. Not everyone has what it takes to walk in ‘swayyyin’ #post90s.”
Read the full article over on ESPN.com