LeBron James has been a lightning rod for criticism for the latter half of his NBA career. Between 2003-2010, James was a fan favorite, and many believed he was the rightful heir to Michael Jordan's throne in the NBA. But all that changed after the offseason of 2010.
James, after 7 years of frustration with the Cavaliers' front office for not providing him with reliable co-stars, decided to leave the franchise in free agency and joined the Miami Heat along with fellow friends and superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a superteam.
The move was not well-received, with many questioning James' competitive spirits, because he joined two other superstars in order to give himself the best chance to win. But it wasn't just people outside the league who didn't like it. One of LeBron's former teammates was also opposed to the move.
Former NBA champion Iman Shumpert said in a recent interview that he thinks LeBron James' move to Miami in 2010 ruined basketball. While he did clarify that James would have been well-intentioned and wanted to show players they were in control, the amount of control he exercised over the franchise has made the loyalty aspect of basketball completely irrelevant.
“Bron ruined basketball. he thought he was making it better I get him. Me personally, I love the NBA for the loyalty that I thought was there. He basically knocked the fourth wall down like the organisation they bullsh*tting, we doing what we want. Great business move for sure but when you think about it outside looking in like, I got people tweeting me right now. They like literally talking about owners and trades, it’s like bro y’all aren’t supposed to be talking about none of this actually.”
Some fans were surprised that Shumpert would be critical of James' move, given the bond the two share. The duo won an NBA championship together in 2016. And most recently, during Shumpert's victorious run on Dancing With The Stars, James was incredibly vocal with his support for Shumpert.
LeBron's move from Cleveland to Miami was the first example of superstar players using their power to make decisions that they want to. Prior to this move, there was almost never an instance of big-name players working together to team up in free agency, but it opened doors for players to be able to do that later on.
Players like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have been able to take full advantage of this, and have found success because of it. While it may not be the most well-received decision, at least players have full authority over their futures, something that could not be said before.