God Shammgod is one of the most recognizable streetball legends in the world and a magnificent ball-handling wizard. After his playing career was over, Shammgod started working with the Dallas Mavericks as someone in charge of player development and sharing the knowledge he learned from playing professional basketball. In a great interview for The Players Tribune, Shammgod talked about multiple things from his illustrious career and life in which he was able to meet numerous great names and travel the world because of basketball.
His path to become the best player he could be, led him to meet the late great Kobe Bryant early in his life. As one of the best high-school players, he was invited to the ABCD Camp, and he and Kobe became roommates. Shammgod thought Kobe was from France, so that is the nickname kids there had for Bryant; they called him France even though he was actually from Italy, where he lived for almost his entire childhood.
Another thing that he immediately recognized about Kobe is that he picked up a lot of mannerisms of Michael Jordan. The resemblance between them was evident, and Shammgod saw this kid was different.
But when you’re young and stupid, everything in Europe is just France to you. So everybody was like, “Alright, France, whatever you say.”
This dude walked like Jordan. This dude talked like Jordan.
This dude chewed gum like Jordan. Right out the side of his mouth like MJ, aggressive. And then he gets on the court, and he’s shooting all the basketballs, man. Alllllllllllll of the basketballs.God Shammgod, via Players Tribune
Kobe’s dad invited Shammgod to practice together because he saw Kobe’s game prosper from practicing with him. Kobe’s weakness at that time was ball-handling, while that was something Shammgod did incredibly well, which Joe Bryant immediately noticed. Shammgod came at six o’clock and he already Kobe there working out covered in sweat.
I get there the next morning at like six o’clock. Sun is still coming up. I’m thinking there’s no way France is gonna be here. I walk in, and this dude is in a full sweat. He’s even dripping like Jordan. I’m like, “Alright then, France. What’s up with you? He’s like, “Man, my name’s KOBE.” We’re at this gym at seven o’clock in the morning doing these dribbling drills, and we BOTH think we’re the shit. We’re BOTH some crazy, obsessive competitors. NOBODY is trying to blink, man. And we’re not playing one-on-one or nothing. We’re tryna dribble each other to death. We’re tryna see who’s gonna drop first.God Shammgod, via Players Tribune
That moment created a friendship between the two that last for numerous years ahead. Even though their careers and paths in life went in different directions, there was always respect between them because they were able to learn a lot from practicing with each other.
That was the start of a great, great, great, great friendship between me and Kobe. A bond that’s forever. We had no idea what we were gonna become, what we were gonna do in life, you know what I’m saying?God Shammgod, via Players Tribune
Shammgod only played for one season in the NBA back in 1997/98 for the Washington Wizards but was soon released after appearing in only 20 games. He later had a successful international career playing in different countries overseas and now is dedicating his life to developing young talent for the Dallas Mavericks. It seems he found his other passion for educating and sharing his immense knowledge about basketball and most certainly ball-handling skills, which he can provide outstanding mentorship to guards like Luka Doncic.