The legend of God Shammgod continues to grow with his tenure as an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks.
In 2016, the Dallas Mavericks hired God Shammgod as a full-time ball-handling and player development coach. He is the first and only specialist of this kind to be associated with an NBA team.
A native of New York City, Shammgod has had an interesting journey to becoming an NBA coach.
Growing up in Harlem, his friends included Cameron Giles, a.k.a. Cam’ron and Mason Betha, a.k.a. Mase, who would go on to make their marks in the Hip Hop world. In high school at LaSalle Academy, one of his teammates was Metta World Peace, aka the artist formerly known as Ron Artest.
Named a prestigious McDonald’s All-American during his senior year in high school, Sham left college after his sophomore year and was selected in the second round in the 1997 draft by the Washington Wizards.
But he only played 20 games in a Wizards uniform. At the age of 21, he was out of the league and playing overseas.
But his legend was formed during his two years at Providence College. It was there where he dazzled crowds nationwide with a dribbling technique known as ‘The Shammgod.’
Freezing and finessing his way through opposing defenses, he and future NBA player Austin Croshere led the Friars into the Elite Eight against the Arizona Wildcats and their star Mike Bibby in 1997.
Providence would fall short to the eventual National Champions, but that game, where he registered 23 points, five assists and three steals, is where ‘The Shammgod” was seen on basketball’s biggest stage.
“I think it’s a move that you should have if are a basketball player in your arsenal,” Shammgod told The Shadow League. “It is almost unstoppable so, I’m just honored that people recognize me for it.”
“It wasn’t many players… that really brought both sides, that street as well as a controlled basketball education to the court, and those ones that did do that really excelled,” said former NBA player Cedric Ceballos. “Guys like Pearl Washington, Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe, Walt Frazier, Kenny Anderson, and Nate Archibald. He transcended and added to what has already been created and put his own little flare on it.”
“To use his signature move to get by people to get some sort of an advantage was huge,” Ceballos continued. “Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe had a lot of spin moves, which he displayed in the streetball situation, but it wasn’t really his signature. Everyone used the spin move when they need to use it, but ‘The Shammgod’ was something that was created from zero, and he elevated it to one hundred.”
“What he brings is professionalism to us, and he also adds his charisma and motivation,” said Ceballos, who serves as a Vice President with the Mavericks. “He is someone we rely on when younger guys and even older guys get down on their games. He boosts confidence. He really has an insight that allows him to see the game differently. He has been in every situation that you could imagine and has a terrific basketball mind.”
“The incredible thing is the effect he has on the players with the dribbling, workouts, the shots, and keeping guys involved,” said Mavericks assistant coach Darrell Armstrong. “It also motivates players to get better, and that helps the team as well. [The Shammgod] is probably one of the most famous moves ever to be done in a game. That move has been amazing and to see so many kids, adults, and professional players imitating it, that just says a lot about Sham.”
“Probably my favorite thing about Sham is his service and heart,” said Mavs assistant coach Jenny Boucek. “It is really in his heart to help the players. He has no ego, no agenda, really cares about these guys, and they feel it. That is why they trust him and is the reason the players are so responsive to him. So, you add that to his talent in terms of teaching he makes a great coach.”
When asked about what Shammgod adds to the Mvericks, owner Mark Cuban said, “He is a Legend! He helps guys with their technique, ballhandling, attitude, approach to the game, and all the above. He has been everything we wanted and then some.”
Cuban also shared his thoughts on why other owners have been reluctant to hire full-time dribbling coaches since Shammgod was brought in three years ago.
“Who knows, I don’t care, and I hope they never do,” Cuban said.
Anybody that has been around Shammgod and watched him before games can see how players like Harrison Barnes, Wesley Matthews, and now Tim Hardaway Jr. have elevated their games this season.
“I think the league has done it, I wouldn’t say a dribbling coach, but they have other staff members that are trying to teach dribbling and other techniques,” said Shammgod. “I think it is broader because it is me and I’m known for dribbling, but when you watch my workouts, we are doing more drills than just dribbling. But specialist for dribbling, there are a lot of people out there: Rafer ‘Skip to My Lou’ Aston, Steve Francis, and Baron Davis. I think the league has followed because if you look at all of the teams in the league, you see more bigs playing on the perimeter, and it is not just about shooting jumpers behind the arch.”
“Arguably, the best player in the league doesn’t shoot jumpers, The Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo,” Shammgod continued. “I know for a fact that Milwaukee works on dribbling every day, and to Giannis’ point, everyone can see that he has made an improvement in dribbling and shooting. Even Anthony Davis is doing “The Shammgod”. So, someone is teaching him how to dribble. I think there are coaches around the league helping players to get better, and I see myself in that category.”
Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki stated recently that Sham is someone he talks to get his opinion on different things that he sees during the course of a game.
“We love Sham, he has a great basketball IQ and knowledge,” said Nowitzki. “I talk to him all the time about things that he sees and then obviously he helps the guys on the court. He is a great workout guy and players love working out with him. He worked with Harrison Barnes almost every day when he was here and the same with West [Matthews], but he is more than a dribbling coach and just a pleasure to be around.”
Free agent to be Dwight Powell had this to say – “Obviously he is a great ball handler, and it’s priceless to have him teach how to read different situations such as defenses and different dribbling moves that you can practice by yourself. He also knows where the contact is going to be, so he can simulate the defensive. Sham knows actually what he is doing from an experience standpoint. He can walk you through a lot, especially the guards and wing players that will be in ball handling situations. He is a very consistent presence and is always positive helping guys regardless of ups and downs. Sham is definitely a solid and consistent personality; you know what to expect. For him it’s all about getting better and for a team like ours full of young talent and players fighting for a roster spot, he is very instrumental in shaping what we have going on in the future.”
“There is only one Shammgod baby, and we got him,” said Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle.