You’ve probably heard the name Shammgod, and seen a ‘Shammgod crossover’ more times than you have ever seen an actual play by the man named God Shammgod (former Shammgod Wells).
When he was known as Shammgod Wells, he played high school basketball at La Salle Academy in Manhattan. His teammates at La Salle Academy included future NBA player Metta World Peace (then known as Ron Artest) and former Providence College center Karim Shabazz. He was selected to the 1995 McDonald’s All-American Team and recorded nine points in the All-American game. He also played with Kobe Bryant during a summer on an AAU team.
Shammgod played for two seasons at Providence College, where he averaged 10.3 PPG for his college career. He was selected to the Big East All-Rookie Team as a freshman in 1996 after setting the Big East freshman assist record, which has since been broken. As a sophomore, Shammgod teamed with future NBA player Austin Croshere in leading the Friars to the 1997 Elite Eight, where they lost to eventual NCAA champion Arizona in overtime. Shammgod registered 23 points and five assists while matching up against future NBA player Mike Bibby in the loss.
It sounds odd to say a 45th draft pick — from the not-so-deep 1997 draft with Tim Duncan (#1) and Tracy McGrady (#9) — who only lasted 20 games in the NBA has a more significant fan base than many NBA greats, but via mixtape makers, barbershops and great NBA point guards, his name not only continues to live on, it gets more prominent and more legendary.
In his documentary, some of the best ball handlers like Jamal Crawford, Damian Lillard, and Kyrie Irving talk about the “deadly” move. “The move itself is so wicked.” Says Jamal Crawford. “It’s identifiable. You know it’s his as soon as you see it. And I’ve seen people over the years try to imitate it, but nobody can make it look the way he does.”
There’s also an interesting part about Shammgod’s first encounter with Kobe Bryant and Kobe’s dad asking him to give his son a few tips to make him a better ball handler.
Although Shammgod might not have been the first to do the move — he made it famous and, just like Jamal Crawford said, “people over the years try to imitate it, but nobody can make it look the way he does.”