Iman Shumpert made history on Monday night, becoming the first former NBA player to win Dancing with the Stars. The show, somehow in its 30TH SEASON, has seen numerous athletes take home the prize, but never a basketball player.
The reason for this is a bit of a mystery. Some have speculated that tall athletes, particularly basketball players, tend to struggle with footwork and choreography — or that their muscle memory from playing ball rarely translates into dancing well. However, die-hard fans noticed immediately that something was different about Shumpert. Starting Week 1, when he was given a 4/10 by the judges in a performance that was universally loved, commenters pointed out that Shump had excellent timing for a man of his size, and that partner Daniella Karagach was picking routines perfect for his skillset.
So, let’s rank the best Shumpert had this season en route to taking home the big prize.
No. 1: Contemporary
The week before Halloween was the perfect time to break out a stunning Us-inspired dance that blew everyone’s minds. It showcased both performers, and Shump really understood the theatrics needed to pull it all together.
No. 2: Cha Cha/ Foxtrot Fusion
Another perfect score dance for Shumpert and Karagach came in the finale with this dance that was just pure fun, and really summed up their entire season as a whole.
No. 3: Freestyle
Fans had waited to see what Shumpert would do in freestyle, and he didn’t disappoint. This dance played to every one of the pair’s strengths, and was excellent from top to bottom.
No. 4: Jazz
While Shumpert was great, this performance was all about Karagach’s choreography. All season long she understood how to devise dances that played to her partner’s strengths, and he brought it in this freeform piece that was less about raw dance moves, and more about timing and athleticism.
No. 5: Argentine Tango
Traditionally the tangos are the dances that celebrities struggle with the most. They demand actual dance posture and skill, which normally trips up people. In this case the duo killed it, and it was so much fun to see them perform to “Arabian Nights” from Aladdin.
No. 6: Paso Doble
The Spanish Paso Doble blends elements of ballroom and rhythmic dance and naturally fit what Shump was capable of on the dance floor.
No. 7: Jive
The lowest rated dance of the season, Week 1’s Jive was a travesty in judging. Thank goodness he managed to squeak through, because this season-winning run could have ended before it started because of this dance — and it would have been wrong.
No. 8: Vienesse Waltz
One of the best things this season has been to see how Daniela Karagach perfectly understood what Iman could, and couldn’t do on the dance floor — and plan for it all. She also saw the need to modernize their performances, and this was a brilliant blend.
No. 9: Redemption Tango
Just a really nice classic dance done exceptionally well. Still, didn’t quite wow as much as some of the other performances.
No. 10: Tango
Not a bad dance at all, this was more about seeing how far along Shumpert’s dance posture had come from the start of the season to this point.
No. 11: Cha Cha
There was nothing functionally wrong with ANY of Shumps’s performances this season, but this one lacked a lot of the pizazz of the others.
No. 12: Foxtrot
Obviously it was enough to get them through, but the pair’s Foxtrot to “Let it Go” was one of their weakest dances of the season. That’s pretty good considering there was nothing really bad about it.
No. 13: Rumba
This was early in the season, and it shows. The worst dance of the season, still really good by DWTS standards.