Former Oak Park and River Forest High School and NBA basketball star Iman Shumpert won ABC-TV’s Dancing with the Stars Monday night, proving he has moves on the dance floor as well as on the court. Shumpert was the first NBA player to become a finalist and now the first NBA player to win the championship in the show’s 30-season history.
The final came down to Shumpert, with professional partner Daniella Karagach, and JoJo Siwa, with Jenna Johnson, the professional to Siwa’s star. Both couples received perfect scores from judges Monday night.
But Shumpert and Karagach reigned supreme in the voters’ eyes, despite Siwa and Johnson being heavy favorites. Siwa has a well-documented history with competitive dance and her time on the reality series, Dance Moms, helped establish her as a household name. She and Johnson also made history as the show’s first same-sex pairing.
Without any dance experience prior to becoming a contestant, Shumpert managed to stay in the game over competitors with known histories of being able to cut a rug, including former Spice Girl Melanie “Mel C” Chisholm. Shumpert and Karagach wowed audiences of the reality dance competition with their impressive lifts and creative choreography over the course of the competition’s 10 weeks.
Voters apparently couldn’t get enough of Shumpert and Karagach’s stage charisma. The dancing duo survived a double elimination to make it to the finals — a feat that three-time Olympic gymnastics medalist Suni Lee did not accomplish. Lee and her partner Sasha Farber said goodbye to the competition in the semifinal round, despite the pair having earned their best scores of the competition that night.
Two other couples competed in the final: Cody Rigsby with professional Cheryl Burke and Amanda Kloots with professional Alan Bersten. Those pairings came in third and fourth, respectively.
Shumpert won an NBA championship in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but now his ring will share pride of place with his Dancing with the Stars Mirrorball trophy.