Iman Shumpert.

Iman Shumpert hits Stephen Curry with verbal jab

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have every right to be full of themselves after bringing the city its first title in 52 years across all sports.

They did it the hard way, too. It took the greatest basketball player in the world to leave them in 2010 and return four years later to truly kick-start their dream.

Failure in the NBA Finals in LeBron James' homecoming season only fueled the fire in northeast Ohio. This term, they would face the Golden State Warriors in a repeat of their meeting 12 months prior and after going 3-1 down in the series, it looked as if the Cavs were dead and buried.

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However, they became the first team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 deficit and they went on to beat the reigning champions in seven games. King James collected his third NBA ring, but it felt much more precious after bringing the Larry O'Brien trophy home.

It wasn't just a victory for James, though. All of his teammates have shared in the glory of immortalising their names in not only the annals of NBA history, but the city of Cleveland.

Iman Shumpert is one of those players. He went from a starter on a tanking New York Knicks to an effective role player for the Cavaliers.

Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks

Back in January 2015, Cleveland received Shumpert and J. R. Smith from the Knicks and a first round pick in the 2015 NBA draft from the Thunder, while Cleveland sent Dion Waiters to Oklahoma City and Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk, and a second round pick in the 2019 NBA draft to the Knicks, and the Thunder sent Lance Thomas to the Knicks.

In all of that, Shumpert was a bit of a footnote and probably even overshadowed by the notoriously difficult Smith in their move. Dio Waiters was the best player to switch teams in that three-team shakeup, but just 18 months later and Illinois-born Shumpert is the one with an NBA ring.

Vincent Goodwill, a Bulls insider for CSN Chicago, tweeted out the 26-year-old's response when a pupil at the basketball camp he was attending wondered: "What's it like to guard Steph Curry?"

Shumpert's answer is as cheeky as it is harmless; all of the Cavaliers roster, who endured ridicule for their collapse 12 months prior, have earned the right to do a bit of gloating.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Five

Kyrie Irving also suggested yesterday that while he is away on Team USA duty at the Olympics, the three Golden State Warriors players turned national teammates will not be safe from a bit of ridicule.

Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes would expect nothing less. Curry will no doubt feel the same, but it will no doubt fuel the Dubs to come back and retain their place at the summit of the NBA next season.

Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
Klay Thompson
Iman Shumpert

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