“Dancing With The Stars” Winner And NBA Champ Iman Shumpert Says LeBron Ruined Basketball | Why He Might Be Right

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Iman Shumpert was a recent guest on “The Bootleg Kev Podcast” and had a lot of interesting things to say. One particular comment by Shump that has the internet melting down is that LeBron James ruined the game of basketball by forming a super team in Miami. Shump may be right, but not in the way you think.

Let’s get one thing out of the way from the jump. The NBA has always had super teams, and the league profits handsomely because of it.

Going all the way back to the George Mikan Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s, the Bill Russell Boston Celtics of the 1960s, Larry Bird’s 1980s Celtics and the Magic Johnson/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Lakers of the 1980s. These were dominant super teams. Check their championship totals.

Moving on to the Michael Jordan’s 1990’s Chicago Bulls, the 2000s Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant Lakers, the mid 2000s Tim Duncan led San Antonio Spurs and all the way to the LeBron Miami Heat and the Steph Curry/Kevin Durant Warriors.

The NBA has always had dominant super teams.

So Shump was incorrect if you interpreted his comments as saying superteams ruined the league. But if you actually listen to what Shump goes on to say, you can get at the “truth” or where he is correct.

Shump said “LeBron broke the fourth wall by joining the Miami Heat and teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on South Beach.

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The fourth wall is a performance convention we are all familiar with and participate in. During a live stage performance there is an imagined or invisible wall that separates actors from the audience. While we the audience can see through this “wall,” the convention assumes the actors act as if they cannot.

The same applies here in the NBA and its super teams.

Those great super teams of the past were exclusively constructed by team owners and general managers. Players had little to no agency in whom they got to play with and the decisions the franchise made. We the fans (read: audience) had to assume that whatever team we rooted for and supported was doing all they could to put the best possible product on the floor and compete for a championship.

That’s the convention assumed in the fan-organization relationship.

LeBron tore down that convention. Some teams may be trying their best to put a good team together, but they often fail. LeBron wasn’t going to allow the Cleveland Cavaliers to dictate whether or not he won a championship, so he took matters into his own hands and constructed his own superteam.

Shump goes on to say that when he speaks to fans they now ask about general managers, trades, salary cap situations, etc. His belief is fans shouldn’t be worried about that part of the game. But that’s where we are now.

There is a way in which the modern NBA fan focuses a little too much on trade scenarios, and off-court machinations more than the actual on-court product. Everyone with a laptop thinks they can run a team.

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So in that regard, Shump has a point and he’s right. The off-court stuff is interesting and fans should be aware and ask questions. But what’s the reason you fell in love with the game in the first place?

It was the first time you saw a player do something unbelievable and you were instantly hooked.

Superteams didn’t ruin the game of basketball. Fans obsessing more about everything off the floor and minimizing the importance of the actual games is ruining basketball.


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