LeBron James is widely viewed as one of the best players in NBA history with the infamous “The Decision” in 2010 seen as a moment that changed the NBA forever. But in the eyes of one of LeBron’s peers, it ruined basketball.
After seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his hometown team, LeBron left the city to join the Miami Heat in 2010. He announced the league-altering decision on ESPN in a sitdown interview on July 10, 2010. Teaming up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, the NBA’s first “Big Three’ won two championships.
While some view LeBron’s departure from Cleveland as a positive, former NBA player Iman Shumpert isn’t one of them. During an interview on The Bootleg Kev Podcast, Shumpert said LeBron’s decision ruined basketball and set the stage for other NBA stars to display a lack of loyalty to their teams.
“He thought he was making it better. … Me, personally, I loved the NBA for the loyalty that I thought was there. He basically knocked the fourth wall down.”Iman Shumpert on LeBron James signing with the Miami Heat in 2010
While it’s possible James did it to make the sport better, it seems far more likely the move was purely out of his own interests. With the best players in the NBA all being defined by the number of championship rings on their fingers, it was the best path to winning the NBA Finals.
- LeBron James stats: 26.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 6.5 apg, 24.68 PER
Of course, the decision had ripple effects that can still be seen today. After losing to the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant joined the franchise and won NBA Finals MVP twice. Fast forward to 2020, LeBron and Anthony Davis delivered the Los Angeles Lakers’ first championship in a decade.
It’s also worth considering Shumpert directly benefitted from being teammates on a loaded NBA roster. He was a part of the Cavaliers’ 2016 championship team, led by LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.