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Former NBA champion Iman Shumpert and his partner Daniella Karagach finished in first place in Monday’s finale of Dancing with the Stars, becoming the first former NBA player ever to win the Mirrorball Trophy.
Shumpert and Karagach beat out JoJo Siwa and Jenna Johnson, who placed second. Cody Rigsby and Cheryl Burke finished third. Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten placed fourth. Host Tyra Banks said on the broadcast that it was a record number of votes for the finale.
Dancing with the Stars #DWTS @DancingABC
And your Mirrorball Champions of Dancing with the Stars 2021 are… 💫 pic.twitter.com/9Cstu4ijcN
Shumpert was the first former NBA player to advance to the final round of the competition show, which is in its 30th season.
Shumpert and Karagach earned a perfect score with their first dance of the night, a cha-cha/fox trot fusion.
It was the duo’s second perfect score of the season, earning a 40 in Week 6 after a breakout performance during “Horror Night.”
During their final video package, Shumpert expressed gratitude to Karagach for her partnership, praising her for the freedom of her teaching style.
“I had a coach that didn’t let us dunk, told us, ‘Don’t dunk the basketball on my team,’” Shumpert told Karagach. “You’re the coach that says, ‘Don’t just dunk it. 360 it.’ … Everybody wants to play for that coach.”
Karagach and Shumpert earned another perfect score from the judges on their final freestyle routine. Julianne Hough said it was “the best freestyle I’ve seen in 30 seasons” of Dancing with the Stars.
Shumpert’s performance this season has earned him adulation from some of his former teammates. Carmelo Anthony, who Shumpert played with during his first four NBA seasons, appeared in a video compilation dedicated to the finalists and gave him words of encouragement.
Anthony is not Shumpert’s only former teammate to show support, though:
Kevin Love @kevinlove
LeBron James @KingJames
Man my G @imanshumpert in his f’n 💼!!!!!! LFG 🗣🗣🗣🗣🗣. Don’t even try to front, just respect the conglomerate! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/8SzL2th79q
A 2011 first-round pick by the New York Knicks, Shumpert was a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 championship team.