Iman Shumpert made history on Monday night and became the first former NBA player to win Dancing with the Stars. The show, kind of in its 30th SEASON, has seen numerous athletes take home the award but never a basketball player.
The reason for this is a bit of a mystery. Some have speculated that great athletes, especially basketball players, struggle with footwork and choreography – or that their muscle memory from playing ball is rarely translated into good dancing. Die-hard fans immediately noticed, however, that something was different with Shumpert. Early in the first week, when he received a 4/10 from the judges in a widely loved performance, commentators pointed out that Shump had excellent timing for a man his size and that partner Daniella Karagach chose routines that were perfect for his Skills fit.
So, let’s rank the best Shumpert this season on the way to the big prize.
No. 1: Contemporary
The week before Halloween was the perfect time for a breathtaking, US-inspired dance that should blow everyone away. It featured both of the cast, and Shump really understood the theatricality it took to bring it all together.
No. 2: Cha Cha / Foxtrot Fusion
Another perfect score dance for Shumpert and Karagach came in the finals with this dance that was just plain fun and really summed up the entire season.
No. 3: freestyle
Fans had waited to see what Shumpert would do in freestyle and he didn’t disappoint. This dance played out all of the couple’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 knew how to develop dances that showed off her partner’s strengths, and he brought them up in this freeform piece that was less about raw dance moves and more about timing and athleticism.
No. 5: Argentine tango
Traditionally, tangos are the dances that celebrities struggle with the most. They require actual dancing posture and dexterity that usually trip people up. In this case, the duo killed it, and it was so much fun watching them perform on Aladdin’s Arabian Nights.
No. 6: Paso Doble
The Spanish Paso Doble mixes elements of ballroom dancing and rhythmic dance and of course fits in with what Shump was able to achieve on the dance floor.
# 7: Jive
Jive, the worst-rated dance of the season, was a farce in the rating. Thank goodness he managed to squeeze through, because because of this dance this winning run of the season could have ended before the start – and it would have been wrong.
No. 8: Viennese waltz
One of the best things this season was seeing Daniela Karagach perfectly understand what Iman could and could not do on the dance floor – and plan everything. She also saw the need to modernize her performances and this was a brilliant mix.
No. 9: Redemption Tango
Just a really nice classical dance that is exceptionally well done. Still not quite as enthusiastic as some of the other performances.
No. 10: Tango
Not a bad dance, this was more about seeing how far Shumpert’s dance stance had got from the start of the season to this point.
No. 11: Cha Cha
Functionally, there was nothing wrong with EVERYONE of Shumps’ appearances this season, but this one lacked much of the pizazz of the others.
No. 12: Foxtrot
Obviously it was enough to get them through, but the couple’s foxtrot to “Let It Go” was one of their weakest dances of the season. That’s pretty good considering there wasn’t anything really bad about it.
No. 13: Rumba
That was at the start of the season and it shows. The worst dance of the season, still really good by DWTS standards.