Former Cavs forward Iman Shumpert made headlines on Tuesday after his rather contentious statement against LeBron James went viral. In a recent appearance on a podcast, Shump claimed that the Los Angeles Lakers superstar “ruined basketball” when he formed the infamous Big 3 with the Miami Heat. Unsurprisingly, the retired 31-year-old has received a lot of flack for his comments.
Shump is well aware of all the hate he's been getting and he's decided to fire back. He had an exchange on Twitter defending his earlier claim while also implying that his statement was taken out of context. Shumpert has now taken to Instagram to deny any and all allegations of “bad mouthing” LeBron:
LeBron's former Cavs teammate Iman Shumpert denies 'bad mouthing' James after claiming that the Lakers star 'ruined basketball.'
(via @imanshumpert on IG) pic.twitter.com/4KZgcpSmQI
— Paolo Songco (@PaoloSongcoNBA) December 23, 2021
For context, here is what Shumpert first said about LeBron:
“It was Bron first going to Miami,” he said. “… Bron ruined basketball. He thought he was making it better, I get it. … Me personally, I love the NBA for the loyalty that I thought was there. He basically knocked the fourth wall down. … Great business move, for sure.”
Shumpert remains adamant that he never intended to “bash” the Lakers star. To be fair, if you listen to the whole interview, Shumpert did send some high praise in the direction of his former teammate.
Then again, he did utter the words “ruined basketball” and it doesn't get any more clear-cut than that. I just don't see how you can spin that type of accusation into something positive. Regardless of how much he praised LeBron, the fact still remains that Iman Shumpert declared that the Lakers superstar tarnished the game forever. There are just no two ways about that.