NBA star Iman Shumpert tells TMZ Sports ... he does NOT hate the show "Empire" -- and does not believe producers ripped off his life for a story line ... despite reports to the contrary.
Earlier today, it was reported that Shumpert was calling out "Empire" -- claiming two of the characters were direct rip-offs of himself and his GF girlfriend Teyana Taylor ... and even sported similar hairstyles.
But Shumpert says the whole thing has been blown out of proportion ... saying, "The 'Empire' story pertaining to myself and my girlfriend Teyana has gotten out of hand."
"Fans of the show and friends have told us on many occasions that couple favors us but we do not at all feel that our lives are being copied/stolen."
Shumpert continues, "I apologize to the actors on the show because they're just being professionals and don't deserve slander that's not what I was trying to portray and I have to be more careful with my choice of words."
"I do not appreciate the writer using his questions with my answers to draw quotes like I was making these elaborate answers but that's the media. The writer took a 2-3 min convo of locker room talk after a GREAT TEAM WIN and made it look like a sit down interview and it wasn't."
"He twisted words to get the point that he wanted to get across. This is not that serious and though we don't watch the show we are not against it."