Iman Shumpert Says LeBron James 'Ruined Basketball' by Signing with Heat in 2010

Adam WellsDecember 22, 2021

Brooklyn Nets' Iman Shumpert plays against the Boston Celtics during an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

If you're an NBA fan upset by the state of the game in 2021-22, Iman Shumpert has pinpointed exactly when the league changed for the worse. 

Appearing on The Bootleg Kev Podcast (starts at :10 mark), Shumpert said LeBron James signing with the Miami Heat "ruined basketball."

"He thought he was making it better," added Shumpert. "... Me, personally, I loved the NBA for the loyalty that I thought was there. He basically knocked the fourth wall down."

It's hard to argue that "The Decision" was the most important moment in the NBA during the previous decade. There had been many teams built around superstars before 2010, but they were usually put together through the draft or trades. 

James and Chris Bosh, who joined him in signing with the Heat to play with Dwyane Wade, broke the barrier of free-agent superstars banding together to create a superteam. 

The move paid off for all parties involved. The Heat reached the NBA Finals in each of the four seasons the trio of James, Bosh and Wade were together, winning titles in 2011-12 and 2012-13. 

James has attempted to orchestrate superteams around him ever since. He went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 to play with Kyrie Irving, and they also brought in Kevin Love via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

After a four-year run in Cleveland, James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018. He wasn't shy about wanting the Lakers to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans in the summer of 2019. 

The biggest ripple effect from "The Decision" may have come six years later when Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors, who had just won 73 games before losing to Cleveland in the 2016 NBA Finals. 

Durant helped the Warriors beat the Cavs in back-to-back Finals. He followed James' model in the summer of 2019 by teaming up with Irving when both signed with the Brooklyn Nets as free agents. 

Even though Shumpert believes James ruined basketball, he directly benefited from it by being part of the 2015-16 Cavs team that won a championship.