Skip to main content

After Scottie Pippen Claimed Michael Jordan 'Ruined' Basketball, Another Player Is Saying The Same Thing About LeBron James

LeBron James in Space Jam: A New Legacy
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

There have been plenty of things happening within the sports world as of late, though a situation that’s truly captured fans’ attention is the one involving former Chicago Bulls players Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan. In his new book, Pippen aired blunt thoughts on his teammate, even going as far as to say that he “ruined basketball.” Many, both basketball devotees and former players, have been debating the comments. But amid this discussion, it’s possible that another (more contemporary) one could be brewing. This is due to the fact that NBA alum Iman Shumpert claims former teammate Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James did the same thing – in his own way.

When Scottie Pippen accused Michael Jordan of messing up the game, his logic was that His Airness encouraged aspiring players to stop focusing on team basketball. Pippen says that once Jordan came onto the scene, players wanted to handle the ball themselves a bit more. Iman Shumpert, fresh off his history-making Dancing with the Stars win, thinks former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James has had a different kind of impact, though. And it has more to do with the formation of superteams: 

Nah, it wasn’t [Kevin Durant], it was Bron, first, going to Miami. Bron knows he ruined basketball… Bron ruined basketball. He thought he was making it better… Personally, I love the NBA for the loyalty that I thought was there. He basically knocked the fourth wall down like, ‘Man, the owners ain’t shit, they bullshitting. We doin’ what we want.’ Great business move for sure but, when you think about it, outside looking in… I got people tweeting me right now, they’re literally talking about owners and trades. It’s like, ‘Bruh, y’all not supposed to be talking about none of this, actually.’

Iman Shumpert on the Bootleg Kev Podcast

(Image credit: Bootleg Kev Podcast)

Before LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach in 2010, it wasn’t unheard of for NBA teams to have stacked rosters. Many of those teams, however, were arguably built through the draft as opposed to massive trades and signings made by the front office. James’ decision seemed to mark the beginning of a new era in which players (in their primes, no less) became heavily focused on joining forces with other marquee names. And as Iman Shumpert argued during his appearance on the Bootleg Kev podcast, it’s made some fans more conscious of the business moves that are made, for better and for worse. 

Despite making those claims about King James, the DWTS alum’s comments are not nearly as pointed as Scottie Pippen’s. He actually went on to shower some serious praise on the man who led their team to a championship in 2016:

…Bron has gone out here every night and played hard. Of course, he’s going to have his times [when] he takes off a day or two, whatever. I get it, you get tired. I don’t know who’s been more faithful, just being disciplined to the game. Bron knows every scheme, knows every coach, knows every player. He knows players in college, you know what I’m saying? … He’s put together an amazing body of work.

Fans have varied thoughts on who the true basketball GOAT is but, in most instances, Michael Jordan and LeBron James are at the forefront of the discussion. Few would argue that both are two of the greatest to ever step onto a court. Both have contributed to the game in major ways, so determining the best can be tricky. 

To Iman Shumpert’s point, though, the Ohio native is very business savvy, just as the Chicago Bulls phenom was years ago. Both players have established powerful brands, which span both the sports and entertainment worlds. For instance, James is working on a basketball drama with Adam Sandler. And it was arguably his influence in the second realm  that allowed James to land his lead role in Space Jam: A New Legacy – a sequel to Jordan’s original 1996 film, of course. (It’s even hard for some to compare their performances in the movies.)

As time goes on, fans are sure to keep weighing whether their contributions to the game outweigh any perceived negatives. And it’ll be interesting to see what other current and former players have to say on the matter.

Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.